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Namuganza speaks out on cancelled Namutumba primaries

By Moses Bikala

Added 9th September 2020 04:19 PM

The polls in Namutumba district were characterised by several incidents of election irregularities at most polling stations

Namuganza speaks out on cancelled Namutumba primaries

Persis Namuganza speaking after the polls were suspended. Photo by Moses Bikala

The polls in Namutumba district were characterised by several incidents of election irregularities at most polling stations

Lands state minister Persis Namuganza has accused some top politicians from Busoga of plotting for her downfall.

Namuganza who is seeking to regain her seat in Parliament said the campaigns in Bukono constituency had been marred by violence, assaulting of her supporters besides voter bribery.

Speaking after the polls were cancelled on Saturday, she said prior to the elections voters received between sh100,000 to 200,000 per homestead as a bribe to elect her opponent Emmanuel Maganda.

When pressed for details, the minister did not name the source of the funds or show proof of bribery.

"I have tried to inform the relevant electoral officials about what is happening here, but it appears nothing is being done about it," she said.

At the same press conference, Namuganza hailed President Yoweri Museveni who she said intervened and halted the elections in Bukono following the death of her agent David Kayogera, a primary teacher, who was beaten as he went to a polling station to monitor the elections.

COVID-19 SOPs

Social distancing was not observed at many polling stations. Handwashing facilities were also generally unavailable.

A polling official at Kivule station in Namutumba said they had been asked to get soap and jerrycans for handwashing from the party head offices in town, but it was too late to do so.

"I could not go to town to collect the jerrycans, yet people were waiting to cast their vote," the official said.

Even at the polling station where Namuganza voted from at Bugwe Primary School, people did not observe the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that were put in place by the Ministry of Health in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Registrar responds

The district NRM registrar, Bovan Mukisa, when contacted said he was not aware that the process had been marred by irregularities.

"All polling officials at every village level were given jerrycans and soap for the voters to wash their hands, before going on make queues," he said.

The district NRM registrar said he was awaiting a report from all presiding officers in every village to ascertain what could have exactly happened before making a conclusive report.

Irregularities

Before the cancellation, the polls in Namutumba district were characterised by several incidents of election irregularities at most polling stations.

At several polling stations in Kibale, Ivukula, and Namutumba town council children below 18 years were seen in the queues.

Without referring to the register or asking for any form of identification, the polling officials allowed anyone who came to the polling station to vote.

There were no water or sanitisers at many polling stations and many voters were not wearing face masks contrary to the COVID-19 guidelines.

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