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.
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
There is a by-election going on in Kagoma County in Jinja District. This is in Busoga region and inside the Busoga Kingdom. In the recent days there been campaign rallies in the towns and villages of the county. As the candidates together with the leadership of the parties has arrived to spell their program and get their candidate into the 10th Parliament.
That the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni together with the NRM has held rallies in the district isn’t surprising, neither is it that today only he has hold 4 rallies in the county. What is more common is the proof of bribery and in general using intimidation as well. Therefore, the reports that the NRM used violence against FDC mobilizers. On the 5th May the pictures of innocent party organizers bloody t-shirts we’re spread on the internet. Therefore, the proof that the NRM cannot win without violence or use money, is yet another proof.
Another typical trick of the NRM, has been how the buses has been driving around in the county and district, giving away t-shirts, offering 10k shillings and food; if they participate to the closest rally of President Museveni and his coming Candidate Moses Walyomu Muwanika. This one is supposed to stop the Forum for Democratic of Change (FDC) candidate Timothy Batuwa. Instead of like the FDC who gather natural crowds with their leadership and convoys.
The NRM uses buses and payments, giving away T-shirts, beating up Independent Candidates supporters, which happen earlier this week. There are certainly double standard in this, as the NRM uses intimidation, harassment, than condemning violence, later knowingly paying for supporters and getting support by bribery. Than, sending buses (Voter Tourism) and picking up crowds, while the other parties scraps people together honest. Therefore, the ruling regime and ruling party uses all tricks of the trade. To get the MP for the area elected again! Certainly, the NRM has no honor, only cheating and rigging to win.
If there will be pre-ticked ballots on the 11th May 2017 and sudden ballots taken away with Police Officers during the tally wouldn’t surprise anyone. Also, that the late release of the Declaration Forms and the Return Forms, which the NRM will comprise as they have already started to do. That with the bribery of citizens and the ways the buses rides to pick-up and give food. This is all manipulation and selling the ballots for scraps. Certainly, the electoral process isn’t respected when the NRM trades the ballot for 10k shillings and rallies to elect their man. Peace.
The recent by election in Kamuli district has gotten a lot of flack for their evident ways of transgression against honoring the ballot and liberty of all parties to take part. Especially the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), as the National Resistance Movement (NRM) won the race, but the reality is that the win cannot be seen as honorable one, as the Kamuli District was more than one place found evidence of questionable behavior of the state.
“80% of Election Day officials had arrived at the polling stations by 6:30am, only 20% had not. It is important for polling day officials to arrive on time because then the polls start on time” (CCEDU, 2017). When the CCEDU finds out that 20% of the Officials not showing up at the polling stations, show the lack of integrity and wish to really care for the voters. Like there are not really any justification to explain the lacking tolerance of the voters, when the persons who are checking and securing the ballots doesn’t show up on time. When one in 5 doesn’t care for showing up when the polls start.
“77% of observers reported no intimidation, harassment or violence during voting against any other persons, but 3% observers reported intimidation of election officials, party agents and observers and 13% reported intimidation against voters” (CCEDU, 2017). That there was reports of this and the police force was involved was clear by many reports, not only by the FDC. THe intimidation was found by 13%, which is a giant group of voters. As one in 10 was intimidated during the election, something that shouldn’t need to happen as the ballots should be able to be casted in peace. The 3% of intimidation of election officials, party agents and observers, is also to much and proves the irregularities of these polling.
“ The unauthorized persons inside polling stations during counting and closing, 68% observers reported they saw the police, 3% saw the army and 37% saw no one” (…) “97% of Observers reported that there was no intimidation, harassment or violence during counting, but 3% reported intimidation of electoral officials and 3% intimidation of party agents” (CCEDU, 2017). That most of the observers saw the Police and the Army was not unexpected, as the reports of intimidation stems from that. But that there even was intimidation of any kind during the counting proves that the system is not fair.
Main conclusions from CCEDU:
“CCEDU observers recorded a number of malpractices that were orchestrated by supporters of FDC and the NRM. At about 12:00pm there were allegations of voter bribery, by an agent of Hajjati Wetongola at St Mark Primary School. The election was also characterized by incidents of violence and a voter wanting to vote in the name of another person. However, our Observer at Kyabazinga Senior Secondary Polling Station, was able to notice the anomaly and raised it with the authorities, who arrested the young man before he would vote as John Mawanga. All these issues mean the quality of the electoral process was compromised. CCEDU was also concerned about the high number of unauthorized persons within the polling stations and noted that quiet a number of people were denied a chance to vote. The Kamuli by-election registered a voter turn-out of 51%. On the whole, the general management of the process was commendable with all polling stations commencing voting before 8:00am. It is also commendable that increasingly, more party agents are observing the electoral processes from beginning to end. Party agents have the ability to promote the integrity of electoral processes by raising a red flag on electoral ills” (CCEDU, 2017).
So a compromised electoral process isn’t what the Kamuli District deserves, neither the voters, as the incidents from both FDC and NRM in this sort of affair wasn’t justified, even as the Ruling Party was the Main denominator together with the Security Organizations, like the Police and Special Forces Command. That shouldn’t be needed during an election, when the public should expect something else. They should expect that the government facilitate the election without any intimidation and any sort of acts against the FDC. They shouldn’t have to go this far for a victory, but they did, because they do not know how to win without using force. Peace.