Sitenda Sebalu of NRM, Apollo Kantinti of FDC and Muwadda Nkunyinji an independent defied the regulation and no sanctions were applied.
A Policeman faces angry Bobi Wine supporters following his arrest on Tuesday. He was later released. PHOTO/Ronald Mugenyi.
Three candidates in Kyadondo East by-election breached electoral laws when they campaigned beyond the gazetted time, a report by Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) has indicated.
Although the Electoral Commission guidelines prohibit campaigning beyond 18:00 hours, some candidates: Sitenda Sebalu of NRM, Apollo Kantinti of FDC and Muwadda Nkunyinji an independent defied the regulation and no sanctions were applied.
Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) has trained and deployed forty five (45) accredited election observers ahead of the June 29 2017 Kyadondo East Constituency by-election. The election is as a result of a Court ruling that nullified the February 2016 election of FDC's Mr. Apollo Kantinti on grounds that the Electoral Commission did not comply with electoral laws then.
CCEDU election observers monitored the pre-election period including: candidates' nomination, update of the voters register, the display of the voters' register, and campaigns. The observers met with various stakeholders, including Electoral Commission, Uganda Police Force, candidates, political parties, civil society groups, religious institutions, among others.
On Election Day, CCEDU will station observers in all parishes to cover at least 50% of the 93 polling stations in Kyadondo East Constituency. There are nine (9) parishes in the Constituency; these include: Bulamu, Gayaza, Katadde, Kabubbu, Kiteezi, Masooli, Nangabo, Wampeewo and Watuba. Polling day observation will focus on: opening, voting and closing processes.
This pre-election statement presents the preliminary findings of the CCEDU Election Observation, highlighting key observations and conclusions. CCEDU will provide Election Day statements and a comprehensive election observation report will be produced within a month after the election.
Summary of key findings
Management of Elections
CCEDU notes with satisfaction that the Electoral Commission (EC) carried out voter register update for eligible voters aged 18, in order to maximize enfranchisement. The Commission also successfully undertook candidate nominations. CCEDU however notes that FDC candidate; Apollo Kantinti is not a registered voter in Kyadondo East Constituency. While is legible to stand and be voted for within the constituency, he will NOT be able to vote for himself on the polling day. Mr. Kantinti is reported not to have participated in EC's voter register update and display exercises and thus did not transfer his voting status from Mukono Municipality constituency where he is originally registered as a voter.
CCEDU notes the lack of a tailored voter mobilization campaign ahead of the Kyadondo East Constituency by-election. There were scanty and intermittent voter education activities in form of local radio talk shows and distribution of voter informational material by the EC and candidates (agents). Little or no voter education messaging attention was paid to interest groups such as Persons with Disabilities, youth and women.
CCEDU observed that the campaigns were competitive, largely peaceful and took place unimpeded and in a celebratory atmosphere, in spite of isolated incidents of violence in some parts of Kyadondo East Constituency. CCEDU however notes that in the course of the campaigns, candidates abandoned the EC harmonized candidates' campaign program in favour of ad hoc door-to-door campaigning which in some instances resulted into clashes between candidates' supporters. CCEDU also notes with concern the clashes between the Uganda Police Force and Independent candidate Robert Kyagulanyi's supporters on 27 June 2017 that resulted into the arrest of the candidate.
According to guidelines issued by the EC, candidates are permitted to hold campaign meetings up to 18:00 hours. CCEDU however notes with concern that some candidates campaigned beyond the stipulated time. NRM's William Sitenda Sebalu campaigned after 19:15 hours in Kyetume Gayaza Parish on 17 June 2017. Muwadda Nkunyinji an independent candidate was sighted campaigning past 21:00 hours in Nalyamagonja on 19 June 2017. CCEDU observed FDC's Apollo Kantinti campaigning at Manyangwa trading center at 21:00 hours on 12 June 2017. Although EC guidelines prohibit campaigning beyond 18:00 hours, some candidates defied the regulation and yet no sanctions were applied.
The distribution of money and gifts by candidates, especially from the National Resistance Movement, a practice inconsistent with section 68(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act 2005, was widely observed by CCEDU observers in Kyadondo East Constituency. It was evident that the NRM dominance and resources were much greater than those of the opposition and independent candidates. On June 17 for instance, NRM candidate William Sitenda Sebalu gave voters at Kyetume Gayaza Ushs 200,000 immediately after his campaign.
Most candidates were observed giving out food and refreshments to potential voters during their campaign meetings. In addition it was difficult to draw a line between the government and the ruling party at the local level: despite the bar against partisanship of civil servants, Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and agents of various security services were omnipresent, occasionally taking a proactive role in the Constituency's electoral process.
While defacement of campaign materials is criminal under section 82 (2) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, CCEDU observed that posters of FDC candidate Apollo Kantinti were defaced in Kitetikka, Wampewo, and Katadde and Kitti areas of Kyadondo East Constituency.
In Bulamu, independent candidate Nkunyinji Muwada's posters had been torn. In other parishes such as Katadde, CCEDU noted that candidate Robert Kyagulanyi's posters had been placed on top of other candidates' posters. Despite the provisions of the law, defacement of campaign materials went largely unpunished.
Whilst the pre-electoral environment was generally peaceful, some stakeholders expressed anxiety with regard to the role of unidentified persons in Nangabo and Kiteezi sub counties who were seen photographing voters' Identification cards, distributing between Ushs 2,000 and 50,000 per person and asking those that had received the money not to turn up for the voting exercise on 29 June. The motive and persuasions of the unidentified individuals could not be established. The occurrence was confirmed to have intimidated and concerned residents in the respective areas.
The Pre-election environment recorded one death of an 18 year old Mboowa Edward a son to the Kyankima LC1 Chairman. The incident occurred on 11 June 2017 during one of aspirant Kyagulanyi rally campaigns. According our observers, Mboowa who was on the trailer was squeezed on a tree stamp as the trailer reversed and died instantly. Police says there is no record to this death as the LC1 declined to make a statement on this case and the matter was treated as a traffic incident.
Participation of women and marginalized groups
CCEDU notes the low number of women contestants. Out of six (6) candidates nominated to vie for the Kyadondo East parliamentary seat, only one (1) was a woman. Even then, the only female candidate Ms. Lillian Babirye (Democratic Party) withdrew from the race allegedly following requests from her party leadership. In Watubba parish, Ms. Rose Nansamba FDC party agent was brutally assaulted in her home for allegedly supporting FDC candidate Apollo Kantinti. This can be attributed to a patriarchal culture and inadequate political will of political parties to facilitate full participation of women.
CCEDU commends the largely peaceful pre-election environment; calls for calm during and after the polling day; and further urges tolerance and speedy post election reconciliation as a sure way of sustaining political stability and social cohesion in Kyadondo East Constituency.