Uganda: EC Supervisors Held Over Bribery

15 December 2019

Police in Kakumiro District have arrested two Electoral Commission (EC) officials over allegations of bribery.

Police yesterday said those arrested include the EC's Kijangi Sub-county supervisor who is a resident of Bufunjo Village in Nyakatete Parish and the Kigando Parish, supervisor.

"They were arrested following complaints that they were extorting money from voters who are participating in the update of the national voters register," Mr Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Regional Police spokesperson, said.

Police reportedly received a tip off from concerned voters who accused the EC officials in the area of demanding money from them before updating their particulars on the national voters register.

"We have obtained exhibits of money amounting to Shs61,000 which they are suspected to have extorted from voters in the area," Mr Hakiza said.

"Seven witnesses have already recorded statements at Kakumiro Central Police Station where they have implicated the officials in extortion," he added.

Police said the suspects are detained at Kakumiro Central Police Station pending completion of investigations into the matter.

Police have preferred charges of bribery and extortion against the suspects.

"We have received many complaints from not only Kijangi Sub-county but also other areas where voters are accusing EC officials of bribery. We are investigating these complaints and we shall bring the suspects to book," Mr Hakiza said.

The exercise

The EC is updating the national voters' register ahead of the 2020/2021 General Election.

The general update exercise commenced on November 12 and was scheduled to close on Wednesday but due to higher numbers of people at the update centres, the exercise was extended and will end tomorrow.

EC position

In a statement, the EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, condemned on December 10 any acts of bribery and extortion at registration centres countrywide.

"The Electoral Commission has noted, with concern, reports of alleged extortion of money by some local leaders and update officials from applicants before processing the applications. This is illegal, and the Commission strongly condemns it," Justice Byabakama stated in his press statement.

He explained that the EC has provided all necessary forms for application as a voter, or application for transfer free of charge.

"The Commission calls on all officials involved in this update exercise to desist from any acts that may frustrate eligible applicants from exercising their constitutional right to apply for registration as voters," Mr Byabakama appealed.

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