10 July 2018

Uganda: Chaos As Mao's Brother Wins LCI Seat

A brother to Democratic Party (DP) President General, Nobert Mao, has been elected LCI chairman in the elections conducted countrywide.

Mr Dusman Okee, an independent, won the Bukaya West village LCI seat located in Njeru Municipality, Buikwe District after garnering 150 votes and defeating three other candidates.

Arikangelo Unzima (NRM) came second with 20 votes while two pulled out of the race after noticing that none of the voters was lining behind them.

In Bukaya East village, Njeru Central Division in Buikwe District, Mr Ernest Ssenyonjo retained his seat.

At both polling stations, elections started at 11:00am and went on smoothly without any disruption.

LCI elections cancelled over chaos

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission (EC) has cancelled the Aldina Village LCI chairperson election after it was marred by chaos.

Voting was supposed to start at 10:30am at Main Street Primary School polling station but as early as 9:00am, speculation was rife that the election would turn chaotic not be conducted summarily.

This was after candidates' supporters - some brandishing sachets of alcoholic spirits - started fighting and hurling profanities at rival factions in full glare of the police.

However, when the chaos persisted, EC officials were led out of the polling station by police.

Key concerns from the over 1,000 voters were that most voters were nonresidents of Alidina village who had national identity cards of other villages.

The race had attracted Ssalongo Birikomawa Marofu (FDC), Bagonga Muzamiru 'small man' (NRM), Joat Kirya Isiko, Henry Kyemba and incumbent, Sokola Isabirye - all Independents.

According to Sam Isiko Kasango, a resident of Alidina village, their concerns emanated from the perceived influx of nonresidents to Alidina village to vote.

He said: "People mistook President Museveni's directive to voters to leave their workplaces and vote. I am sure he didn't mean they should all flood here (Alidina) and inconvenience us."

David Kalanzi, another resident, warned: "They (EC) either only allow residents of this (Alidina) village to vote or the election will not take place at all."

Mr Isabirye said he foresaw the chaos and blamed it on the EC.

"The EC should have embarked on a door-to-door campaign to establish the exact number of eligible voters in Alidina village. I have been the chairman for about three years and I will tell you that this village doesn't have more than 300 residents," he said.

Adding: "I am shocked to see over 1,000 voters here; where have they all come from and where do all of them stay? You mean to tell me that all these 1,000 or so people can afford to stay in town?"

NRM wins unopposed

Relatedly, NRM-leaning Henry Jackson Batambuze was declared chairman of Main Street East village.

According to the EC Presiding Officer, Ms Josephine Adong, Mr Batambuze was declared winner by virtue of being unopposed.

Mr Batambuze, who has been chairman for the past 15 years, said he hopes to build on his 'vast achievements' that enabled him contest and pass through unopposed.

Chaos in Nalugala

Chaos ensued and the voting collapsed in the Nalugala Local Council in Katabi Town Council elections in Entebbe, Wakiso, following confusion over eligibility of voters. By midday the voting which was expected to have ended by 11am at Kayunga Catholic Church polling station along Garuga Road had not taken place.

The presiding officer started the process by reading out names of voters in the village register as each moved forward to pick up their ballots upon presenting their National Identity Cards. However some voters' names, who had already picked their ballots and been ticked off in the register, were called out again several times, allowing many of them to pick more ballots which they distributed to ineligible voters. Because of the delayed voting time, some voters even went and photocopied their ballots which they distributed to their ineligible colleagues. The situation went chaotic.

By 11:30am the presiding officer declared people with ballots to be on one side and those without to be on the opposite side. Ineligible voters standing in the crowd were far more than the eligible voters inside the designated area. The situation deteriorated further. The agitation ensued and chaos burst. Police were called in to calm the situation.

The security team led by a senior police officer identified as DW Ndaula arrived with military personnel. He tried to restore calm and ordered the presiding officer to resume reading the voters register name by name. The clock was now ticking midday. Nalugala village is under Kisubi Police Station.

But the situation was increasingly getting volatile. By 1pm no voting had taken place and it was increasingly getting doubtful whether the election will take place at all.

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