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Kagoma By-Election: Grand issues as heavy deployment seems to rig it all for the NRM!

The 11th May are the Polling Day of the Kagoma By-Election in the Jinja District. As there are unsettling reports and also proves that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) cannot win a sincere election. Since they are coming with a presence of mambas, armed police officers and all the gear to intimidate the public. As even during the campaigning, the President Yoweri Museveni said: “I am tired of wars. I want you to vote for pro-NRM members of parliament like our party flag-bearer, Mr Moses Walyomu.” (…) “I don’t want to go back to the bush to fight again. Don’t send me people who will disagree with me in parliament. I fought in 1986 and I am tired.”(Kirunda, Nakato & Katabulawo, 2017).

Arrested day before the ballot:

Sadiq Amin, the National Defense Secretary of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party and seven others are in trouble for alleged electoral violence in the Kagoma parliamentary by-elections. The eight were picked up last evening from Buwenge town council ahead of the Kagoma County parliamentary by elections later today. Asuman Mugenyi, the Director of Police Operations, told journalists at Kagoma county headquarters last evening that Amin is wanted for masterminding violence in the just concluded Kamuli municipality MP by elections” (URN, 11.05.2017).

The Police has deployed heavy in the district and in the area. They have even arrested people around the voting stations, on the charges of violence. But there aren’t reports of people at the Hospitals. As there is only FDC leadership who has been detained the day before and know more people being charges. Seems like a day where the Police Force are intimidating the public to vote for the NRM candidate today.

Security has been beefed up in Jinja town as voters in Kagoma County constituency go to the polls to elect a new MP in today’s by-election . Busoga regional police commander Twishimwe Geofrey says the tension between two groups; supporters of Brandon Kintu, an Independent candidate, and Moses Walyomu of the NRM, were high and so far eight people have been arrested in connection to violence” (88 SMART FM, 11.05.2017).

Despite some polling station receiving voting material beyond the required time as well as reported cases of a pre-ticked ballot paper, heavy police deployment, the country’s election prefect maintains that nothing is amiss. According to the schedule, voting was supposed to begin at exactly 7am and close at 4pm” (…) “However not all polling centres kept that time. Some polling stations were also forced to suspend voting for hours after the biometric machines failed to function despite earlier assurance by the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi that everything was good to go. According to Mr James Otim, a resident of Budondo sub-county, it emerged that voting some at polling stations started late” (Ladu, Tausi & Okeya, 2017).

Byakika Voting was suspended for nearly two hours at Kiranga-Busoba Polling Station in Butagaya Sub County following the breakdown of election machines. Only 19 people had voted before the thumb-detecting machine stopped working. The station Presiding Officer Paul Kigenyi says the voting temporarily stopped around 8:30am. By 10:30am the E.C team led by one Samuel Kiyingi was still struggling to fix the machine. Voting resumed a few minutes later as voters expressed their anger” (City Beat Magazine, 11.05.2017).

So there been clear malpractice and also intimidation, as the FDC leadership has spent time behind bars, as the Kagoma By-Election was going-on. So if the result doesn’t end with victory for the NRM candidate, I would be shocked. All the cards are stacked against the independents as well as the FDC candidate. This is going on and the government sponsors the fear, in the midst of a by-election in the Jinja District. The clear evidence is already there, that before the tallying, the return forms and the party agents start to take charge over the ballots. This is just beginning of the electoral process, and the issues are here from the get-go. Peace.

Reference:

Kirunda, Abubaker; Nakato, Tausi & Katabulawo, Andrew – ‘I don’t want opposition in parliament, says President Museveni’ (09.05.2017) link:http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/I-don-t-want-opposition-in-parliament–says-President-Museveni/688334-3919496-71atniz/index.html

Ladu, Ismail Musa; Tausi, Nakato & Okeya, Moses – ‘Complain of pre-ticked ballot papers, faulty voting machines blemish Kagoma by-election’ (11.05.2017) link:http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Preticked-ballot-papers-faulty-voting-machines-blemish-Kagoma/688334-3922948-s0x8bxz/index.html

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