The NRM primaries have been held today within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines in 151 party districts, 353 constituencies and 69,075 villages, which are also NRM polling stations.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) electoral commission issued guidelines for conducting nationwide primaries to elect the party's parliamentary flag bearers in next year's general election.
Explaining the rules and regulations to follow today, NRM electoral commission (EC) chairperson Dr Tanga Odoi said elections for the position of district Woman Member of Parliament will be held first, followed by those for the constituency MP.
The commission dispatched election materials countrywide and an NRM EC team trained all election officials in the process. Odoi told journalists in Kampala on Tuesday.
"The voters register shall be used as is," he said. As such, Odoi said, there will be no addition and deletion of names during the display of the voters register.
"All NRM members whose names get deleted during the display of the register will be allowed to vote in the primaries," he stated.
As said by Odoi, the elections have been by lining up and universal adult suffrage and every NRM branch/village has had a polling station and each station was bounded off with a demarcation string.
"A presiding officer shall be in charge of each polling station. There shall be an officer at each polling station to keep law and order," he said.
On polling day, Odoi said, voters will converge at the polling station by 10:00am in line with the health ministry COVID-19 guidelines.
He said the polling officer will first take the electorate through the polling process and before polling, the presiding officer will read out names of eligible voters on the register.
As Odoi stated, polling started at 11:00am. The presiding officers displayed candidates/agents/ candidates' portraits to the electorate.
Each candidate nominated not more than two agents to witness the polling.
"These agents presented appointment letters signed by their candidate. The candidates may also provide one portrait at each polling station held by agents at the front of the line to help voters identify them," the NRM EC chairperson said.
He added that when polling starts, the presiding officer will ask candidates or their agents to stand in a line with at least two metres separating each candidate/agent. The presiding officer at each polling station must ensure observance of standard operating procedures as laid out by the health ministry.
Odoi said polling assistants will stand behind each line after all voters have lined up behind candidates of their choice.
"Criss-crossing of lines by voters after polling assistants have stood behind them is illegal," Odoi warned.
He said the polling station will be set up in an open place and all persons who report to the polling station should wash/sanitise their hands with water and soap.
"All persons should wear facemasks. No handshaking or hugging shall be allowed and all persons should disperse immediately after the polling," the NRM EC boss said.
Odoi said after all voters have lined up behind candidates of their choice, the presiding officer will count the voters in the line assisted by polling assistants. After that the officer will record the number of votes for each candidate on declaration of results (DR) form.
"The officer shall announce the number of votes each candidate has got at the polling station and agents of candidates shall sign DR forms after the forms have been filed by the presiding officer. The officer shall then give a copy of the form to the candidates' agents," he said.
Odoi said a DR form will then be transmitted to the respective tally centre for final tallying and that's final tallying and announcing of results will be done at the district tally centre by the party district registrar.
"No tallying of results shall be done at the sub-county," the NRM EC chairperson said. Odoi cited bribery, procuring ineligible persons to vote, obstruction of voters and election officials, soliciting for votes on polling day plus unauthorised or multiple voting as illegal practices.
He said the personnel in charge of the primaries are NRM EC sub-region coordinators, district registrars, sub-county registrars, parish registrars and village registrars. Odoi said the NRM district executive committee under the leadership of the Movement district chairperson will play a political oversight role in the electoral process.
Odoi, however, said they must in no way get involved in the process. "The overall in-charge of the elections at district level is the NRM district elections officer," he said.
Odoi said the NRM EC had written to security authorities asking for their presence during the voting.
He said the commission's department of research had detected electoral violence in several areas.