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Ugandan people shun the Local-Government Elections today; While Dr. Kizza Besigye is arrested while trying to go out and vote!

Poll Station 24.02.2016

Today is the Local Government Elections in most places in the country except for the once that gets suspended because of wrong names on the ballots or the persons who are supposed be on the ballots. This time around the ballot-papers we’re delivered on time, everywhere actually and the polling agents was ready. There was also informed to be a public holiday so that there should be possible to show up, but this here is a silent demonstrations and a free-for-all after the sham of an election the 18th February.

Just as the main elections of the Executive and representatives in the Parliament, this here will be marred with malpractice and even rigged. Therefore the people have shunned the event and polls. As they don’t trust the Electoral Commission; I have lots and lots of issues from around the country, this here is not just an reaction to all those people who never got their say on the 18th February, but also all them who never got counted that day. Here are some reports.

Radio One Polling Station 24.02.2016 P1

From Kampala in the morning:

“Although polling materials were dispatched early enough by 6am, the poor turn up of voters has caused delays in starting of the voting exercise. At some polling stations in Nakawa and in Namirembe at Mengo primary polling station, Makarere and Kabale among others voting started after 7:40am with one or two voters occasionally showing up.  The stipulated time to open the polls is 7am and closing time is 4pm. The Electoral Commission has done its part to deliver the materials on time and ensure their electoral agents are already stationed for duty” (Radiocity 97FM, 24.02.2016).

Radio One Polling Station 24.02.2016 P2

As the Electoral Commission stated on social media:

“Kyankwanzi District that elections for the District Chairperson have been suspended today” (EC, 24.02.2016).

The Observer wrote this:

“Voting material mixup: Wrong ballot papers sent to 6 sub counties in Bundibugyo in  Busaru, Nyahuka, Bubugwanga, Ntoroto, Kasitu & Ntandi” (Observer, 24.02.2016).

Bushenyi 24.02.2016

Comboni Hospital Polling Station, Bushenyi

In Bushenyi:

The NRM continues to rig elections in the area as the NRM get the FDC Monitors of the elections is arrested, while the NRM starts to bribe the voters to vote for them. And stacks of money are taken to the sub-counties in the area as well. The NRM mobilisers are in the markets and buying the voters. This report from one of polling stations in the district: “Empty Polling Stations in Bushenyi, here at Comboni Hospital; people have refused to go to vote. Atleast 100 people have voted out of over 350 people who voted at this polling station last week”.

In Lungujja:

“Signed blank declaration forms have been discovered in Lungujja by Rubaga MP Elect Moses Kasibante. Chaos has ensues” (93.3. KFM, 24.02.2016).

In Kabale, Moroto and Katakwi:

“In Kabale, voter turn up is low, partly because the district chairperson is unopposed, our correspondent reports” (NBS TV, 24.02.2016). “9:53 LIVE: Our report David Ochieng in Tororo says voter turn out is still low. Voters are complaining about the Biometric Voter Verification” (NBS TV, 24.02.2016). Our reporter Mike Onyang says in Moroto, more locals have been seen at drinking joints than at many polling stations. Onyang says many voters he has spoken to in Moroto say they are fatigued and are still mourning the loss of ‘their’ candidates (NBS TV, 24.02.2016). Very low turn up in LC5 and LC5 councilor’s in Katakwi as the case in the rest of Uganda.

In Jinja:

“Voting for the district chairpersons and councillors is underway, but here in Jinja the voter turnout is significantly low as compared to the just concluded presidential and Members of Parliament election. All this, despite today being a public holiday” (89 Smart FM, 24.02.2016).

In Nebbi:

“Local government elections in most parts of the country have been characterized by low voter turn up compared to Presidential and parliamentary elections. For instance in Nebbi district at boma one polling station by 11:00am only 57 out of 500 voters had voted while boma two out of 142 only 37 had cast their vote” (Radio Paidha Ltd, 24.02.2016).

In Iganga:

There police and military are at the Polling Stations and the roads in the district.

In Kumi:

“Electoral Commission has postponed the polls for the Kumi District LC V chairperson, following the death of Charles Otaok, the Go Forward Candidate. Otaok died in a motor accident along the Mbale-Soroti highway, a fortnight ago. The Kumi District Returning Officer, Monicah Ngobi, said this morning that they received communication from the Electoral Commission headquarters in Kampala, to postpone the elections of the LC V chairperson until further notice” (RadioCity 97FM, 24.02.2016).

Mbale 24.02.2016

There been low voter turn-up in Entebbe, Gulu, Makindye, Lyantonde, Lwengo, Masaka, Sembabule, Mukono, and Kampala. In certain areas there are more Polling Officals then voters. Look forward to see how they will fix the results from this locals elections Seem that the country there is low-turn up as people seem to have lost faith in Eng. Dr. Badru M. Kiggundu and his Electoral Commission. Who decide for them and therefore they boycott this election to prove as a demonstrations against the regime! As with the other election on the 18th February there been people captured with pre-ticket ballots. There been silence and not much action since the announcement of the Presidential and Members of Parliament elections has been rigged and taken the public for granted. Therefore the result is low turn-up and showing the Electoral Commission.   

Reports from Presidential Elections in Karamjoa and explains the 95% for President Museveni:

“In Karamoja the Electoral Commission District Registar has been beaten by the Special Forces command on the 17th February before making off with all the ballot boxes. He is currently paralyzed”.

Kizza Besigye 23.02.2016

Just as the low-voter turn-up the Local-Government does not need Dr. Kizza Besigy’s ballots it seems:

“Col dr Kizza Besigye has been blocked from leaving his Kasangati home. He planned to travel this morning to Rukungiri for local government elections. From the start of the week, Dr Besigye has been kept by police, inside his Kasangati home during the night, and in police cells during the day. Last night at around 10:30pm as he was being returned from police detention back to his home, Dr Besigye said he was tired of this routine, and that he would rather remain in police custody, than being enslaved inside his own house. Besigye on the other hand says he needs to prepare to legally challenge the presidential election results in courts of law, and has now less than 6 days to put together all the necessary evidence” (RadioCity 97FM, 24.02.2016). In the New Vision: “Kizza Besigye of FDC was earlier today denied chance to leave his home to go to Rukungiri to cast his vote in the local council polls by the area DPC, James Kawalya” (New Vision, 24.02.2016).

As the voters shun the election, Dr. Kizza Besigye still not allowed moving freely and under arrest on yet another day! The Electoral Commission will struggle to get more voters than the polling stations as the numbers should be small and the percentage of total voters should be very low. Close to 20% or even less many places, if it is more than it is pre-ticked for NRM candidates as that is the Modus Operandi of the NRM-Regime.

I want to say I understand the people and their demonstrations is vital and viable as the world is following Uganda and the people know about the non-sense re-election of President Museveni. As the opposition continues to be under pressure and harassment as seen by Dr. Kizza Besigye; Seen yesterday in Mbarara and Ibanda; now also in Bushenyi where they arrested FDC mobilisers today. Since it is for the ruling party the access and reason for it is not necessary as the fear and intimidation is what the NRM lives on, and not on vote-ability or accountability for their actions. Peace.  

Statement to Parliament on the recent attacks in the districts Of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntokoro. (Thursday 10.07.2014)

Here is parts a statement with new information dropped to the Parliament and it should be interesting too thoose who has followed the skirmishes in Kasese and Bundibugyo.

(1)          Introduction

1.1       The right Honourable Speaker of Parliament and Hon Members of Parliament, our country on Saturday the 5th July witnessed a very tragic and sad event that led to the death of at least 90 Ugandans in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko.

1.2       I beg to move Madam Speaker that Parliament rises to observe a minute of silence in respect of these deceased Ugandans, I beg to move.

1.3       The characteristic  of the events that unfolded show that some people in our society still hold firm beliefs in witchcraft, can easily be duped into criminality and can be very callous  in causing death to their brothers and sisters.

 

(2)            The main characteristics and details of the attacks

2.1       The attacks took place on Saturday 5th July between 2 PM and 4 pm in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko

2.2       The main targets were police and army positions, wananchi in the case of Kasese, the palace of the ObundingyawaBwamba and stanbic bank in Bundibugyo

2.3       The attackers were mainly armed with spears,pangas sticks and some guns

2.4       The objectives were mainly to ,get guns and money.

 

(3)          The places attacked in each of the affected districts are; 

3.1       In Bundibugyo the places attacked included

(i)              Kanyamirima barracks – 5 kilometers from the town of Bundibugyo,

(ii)            Bundibugyo town where the stanbic bank and the palace of the OmundigyawaBwamba were key targets.

(iii)          Kirindi shrine

(iv)           Ntandi

(v)             Katumba

3.2       In the district of Ntoroko the attacks were at the trading centre of Kibuuku and  the police station in Karugutu town council.

3.3       While in Kasese, the places affected are:

(i)          a weighbridge opposite KCCL factory on the highway from Kasese to Bushenyi and

(ii)        The villages of Bigando and Ibuga.

 

(4)           The Table below summarises the estimates of the people killed as of Tuesday 8/7/2014.

Statement 9

(1)          Response to the crisis by Government

(a)            Early on Sunday 6th the Inspector General of police and the Commander Land Forces UPDF moved into the area

(b)            The battalion commanding offices in Bundibugyo were already joined by the 305 brigade based in Hima, Kasese

(c)             I left Kampala on Sunday evening heading for Bundibugyo. My colleague the Hon Minister of Internal Affairs at the time we received the news of the attacks was in the Acholi sub region following the National ID registration but we kept in close touch over the issue.

(d)            The President and Commander in Chief has been kept briefed about the events and as Hon Members are aware, he has issued a preliminary statement on the tragic situation

(e)            I returned to Kampala on Tuesday night and yesterday morning I briefed the Cabinet and a good proportion of the time of Cabinet was spent discussing this tragedy and laying out strategies on how to prevent such tragedies in the future.

(f)              The deployments in the affected districts have been stepped up both by police and the army

(g)            The Inspector General’s  attention is now fully focused on the region and up to yesterday he was still in the region.

(h)            Intensive investigations are going on to find the basis of the attack and the leaders of this plan.

 

(2)          While in Bundibugyo, I held a number of meetings and interviews

7.1           I met the senior leadership of the army and police, made a courtesy call on the OmundingyaWaBwamba and interviewed the Deputy Prime Minister of the ObusingaBwaRwenzururu who had been taken in by the police and also with one of the women that was among those captured from the attackers.

7.2           I had a discussion with political leaders of the district of Bundibugyo led by the district chairperson and also met 10 elders of the Bakonzo people in Bundibugyo

7.3           The woman I met was about 35 years old. Her story was that she had been captured by the attackers on her way from her garden on Friday 4th July i.e the day before the attacks of Saturday. Her brief history was that in 1997 when ADF attacked Bundibugyo she responded to the call by UPDF to join military training and she worked with the army for one year. However while working as LDU, she fell in love with a UPDF soldier and had a child with her in 2000. Thereafter the husband now was transferred to Gulu. In 2003 the husband defected from the army and returned with his wife and baby to Mbale where he hails from. She did not find life easy so she returned to her father’s home in Bundibugyo in 2006 and has since lived with the parents until she got involved in this attack.

7.4           When I asked her if she had seen a witch doctor before coming for the attack, she told me she refused to do so because this was satanic and her experience in Gulu had taught her that witchcraft does not protect one against bullets. She however indicated that inorder not to provoke her superiors she accepted to carry some stuff in her pocket which was meant to be protection against bullets. She revealed that while in the camp where she was taken on the Friday night she found about 150 other people.

7.5           The brief by the leaders in the camp was that the struggle was for liberation of the Bakonzo people from the Bamba oppression which was supported by the Central Government. They were told that the mission on Saturday was to get 2 things.

  • guns from Kanyamirima barracks and the police
  • money from stanbic bank

7.6           She further informed me that some of the people killed in the attack were from her village and she believed that these had been undergoing training during the day for at least a week in a place she did not know until that Friday night. On my asking, she told me the father’s name and that the father and sisters had mobile phones. And so I told her I wanted to ring the father. When the police brought me the phone the cell had died and so advised that it be charged. Subsequently I rang the father who collaborated her story in so far as the disappearance on Friday was concerned and her marriage to the UPDF soldier. He also revealed he had lost a son in the attack and until I rang him and informed him about the daughter he thought that she too had died.

7.7           This lady’s story collaborated what the soldiers had told me about the attackers having used witchcraft to protect themselves against bullets.

 

(3)          Let me now give some characteristics of the attacks in Kasese. What happened at Bigando was callous horrible and despicable to say the least.

  • Bigando and Ibuga are two villages in Busongora North the constituency represented in this House by Hon William Nzoghu.
  • on the fateful afternoon 11 civilians, including children were killed in cold blood.
  • A soldier on leave was forced into his house,the house locked from outside and set on fire! and other people hacked to death by the attackers.
  • As I have said this was callous, atrocious and heartless on the part of the attackers.
  • We strongly condemn this and the Government is doing everything possible to find the culprits and bring them to book

 

(4)          Underlying factors

9.1         As I have clearly stated investigations are on and many people including the attackers who were captured alive are being interrogated.

9.2         I will therefore at this stage give the underlying factors operative in the Rwenzori region that will throw light on the causation of this tragedy.

9.3         First there is the matter of cultural institutions in the area. After the ObusingaBwaRwenzururu was recognized by the Government, the other ethnic groups in the place also called for recognition. Accordingly the Government recognized the cultural institution of the Bamba, the ObundingiyaBwaBamba.

9.4         In the meantime the Basongora and the Banyabindi in Kasese have also been calling for similar treatment. This has however not gone well with the ObusingaBwaRwenzururu. As the article in the news papers  has shown, the President has asked the OmusingawaRwenzururu to have a dialogue with the other ethnic groups in the Rwenzururu kingdom.

9.5         There is also the issue of the economy and land mainly in Kasese district. This has been longstanding matter which Government has been grappling with and of recent. Parliament appointed a select committee to follow up the issue. I am made to understand a report will soon be presented to the House.

9.6         The Basongora and Banyabindi in Kasese district have persistently talked about being marginalized in the district while the Bakonzo in Bundibugyo have also claimed marginalization  by the leadership in Bundibugyo.

9.7         The Government is aware of these grievances and is studying the matter carefully.

 

(5)          Conclusion

(i)            The tragic events of last weekend deserve the condemnation of right thinking people.

(ii)          In handling this tragedy, it is important that we separate issues. In particular I have in mind the criminally minded people who hatched this plan and therefore take responsibility for the deaths that occurred. Then there is the persisting belief in witchcraft on the part of some of our people in the country. To have a situation in the country where people still think that witchcraft can protect them from bullets and therefore  daringly attack an army barracks,is a clear indication of the long road we still have to travel to achieve socio-economic transformation.

(iii)         As I have said Government strongly condemns the attacks that took place in the Rwenzori region and is taking every step possible to calm the situation, thoroughly have the matter investigated with the view to bringing culprits to book in accordance with the law of the land.

(iv)         The intelligence failure that occurred in this particular situation is being rectified.

(v)          In the meantime Government is carefully studying the grievances as outlined in this statement.

(vi)         I thank you Madam Speaker and Hon members of Parliament for the attention you have given to this statement.

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