Uganda: 230 NRM Party Poll Petitions Pending

At least 232 elections petitions are yet to be heard by the elections tribunal of the directorate of legal affairs of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

In an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday, the NRM director of legal affairs, Mr Oscar Kihika, revealed that only 413 petitions of the 645 petitions had been successfully heard.

These include the 190 petitions from LC5 LC3 and councillors that were handled between September 21 and 26.

Mr Kihika said priority was accorded to the selected petitions so as to accord the party enough time to clear and endorse candidates for nomination by the national Electoral Commission (EC).

The EC set September 21 to October 1 [today] as nomination dates for Local Government candidates while MPs will be nominated between October 12 and October 13. Presidential aspirants will be nominated from November 2 to November 3.

The hearing of petitions raised by the candidates seeking to run for parliamentary seats on NRM ticket began on Sunday and will be closed on October 5.

The final rulings on the last batch of the petitions will be delivered on October 6.

"We began on Sunday with 32 petitions from the Kigezi and Lango region and delivered the ruling on Monday evening. On Monday, we heard 68 petitions from Acholi, greater Masaka and greater Mubende [regions]," Mr Kihika said.

"We also heard 43 petitions which we finished by 1pm on Tuesday and their rulings were delivered this afternoon [Wednesday]," he added.

He revealed that they yesterday handled 78 petitions from Ankole and West Nile .

The matters raised by the petitioners, among others, include voter bribery, intimidation and ferrying of voters from one area to another.

The petitioners also accuse returning officers of altering of results and tampering with declaration of results forms.

Challenges

However, Mr Kihika revealed that the tribunal is financially constrained and that his office could not afford to fully advertise in the newspapers to alert candidates who petitioned.

"We had not foreseen that [the need to advertise in the newspapers] in our budget and so we had to rely on calling the respondents," Mr Kihika said.

Mr Kihika's department does not have enough time for prolonged tribunal sessions as each petition is only accorded a maximum of 30 minutes, something some petitioner decried .

Mr Arthur Nkalubo, a Nakaseke South MP aspirant, said: "I would not say that I was given enough time to be heard but I am hoping to get fairness."

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