PIC: Hood Katuramu (flashing thumbs-up sign) and Wilson Nokrach after winning the by-election for western and northern regions respectively. (Credit: Charles Okalebo)
By Charles Okalebo and Doreen Musingo
JINJA - The two members of parliament representing people with disabilities (PWDs) have retained their seats in a by-election.
During the by-election held at the Civil Service College in Jinja on Tuesday, Hood Katuramu (western region) won with 325 votes while William Wilson Nokrach (northern region) was victor with 281 votes.
Both contested as independent candidates.
Others were Joyce Acan Okeny (NRM) who got 263 votes, Dr. Bernard Mayanja (NRM) 126, Martin Mwesigwa Babu (independent) managed 92 votes while Geoffrey Kabateraine of FDC got a lowly two votes.
The electoral college had 573 voters but only 556 managed to vote and four votes were invalid.
The returning officer Apollo Musinguzi described the exercise as peaceful and promised that the Electoral Commission would continue doing the same as a way of maintaining a good image across this country.
"We want the public to build confidence in the Electoral Commission wherever we go," he said.
Musinguzi, the regional elections officer for Busoga sub-region, was assisted by Staurt Tamale, head of special interest groups at the Electoral Commission.
After being declared winner, Nokrach said his target is to return to parliament and continue with his programmes so that PWDs are streamlined in government programmes geared towards achieving middle-income status.
He intends to prioritize building the contracts law so that the disabled are catered in newly constructed buildings through provision of ramps for easy access. He also wants to lobby for special programmes for PWDs, saying they are neglected in schools.
On his part, Katuramu said since they (MPs) are the voice of the minority, all PWDs should feel free to approach them to have their issues solved.
Stephen Tashobya, a commissioner in charge of the eastern region at the Electoral Commission, described the exercise as one of the most peaceful by-elections conducted since the 2016 general elections.
He however said in the next financial year, PWDs should be given priority so that they get more funding in the national budget.
The decision to hold the by-elections followed the nullification by court of Nokrach and Katuramu's election on grounds of election malpractice and lack of academic papers respectively.
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