Uganda: Court Dismisses Vote Recounting Application in Bukoto South

25 January 2021

Masaka Chief Magistrate on Friday dismissed an application seeking to recount votes cast for the Bukoto South constituency parliamentary race on January 14.

The application was made by Mr Abdul Kiyimba, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) flag bearer, arguing that the tallying process had a number of irregularities.

Mr Kiyimba lost the race with 6,685 votes to Dr Twaha Kagabo of the National Unity Platofrm, who got 8,883 votes.

Others in the race were Mr Julius Ssentamu who garnered 5,621 and Bena Nakimera Makuza who got 325, both of whom were contesting as Independents.

Masaka Chief Magistrate Charles Yeteise in his ruling said the applicant does not in any way challenge the figures but only states that the results were influenced by darkness and noise made after the declaration of presidential election results.

"Vote recount is not granted as a right, but on the evidence adduced before court. I have failed to find compelling evidence to warrant an order for a recount," Mr Yeteise said.

He added: "A recount is not a fishing expedition, but it is in respect of specific ballot papers counting of a polling station, because of the foregoing, I dismiss the application with costs to the respondents."

According to Mr Kiyimba's lawyer, Mr Steven Kalali, the tallying of votes was done in the dark, two of Mr Kiyimba's agents at Nakalembe and Degeya polling stations, and there was a mismatch of results, which affected the outcome of the final result.

Some of the polling stations with contested results include Kinoni Masjid, Bugagamanyi, St Joseph Primary School, Nakalembe, Kasana playground, Bigando Primary School, and Degeya Mosque, among others.

"I ask court to order for a recount of the votes at all the cited polling stations whose results had issues," he said.

Dr Kagabo's lawyer, Mr John Bagole, however, told the court that the affidavits supporting the application were full of falsehoods since at several polling stations, vote tallying was conducted between 4.30pm and 7.30pm.

"Claims that vote tallying occurred in the dark and late in the night are not true," he said.

Mr Bagole told the court that if there was a mismatch of results as the applicant alleges, his agents at the various polling stations would not have signed the declaration of results (DR) forms, but they did at more than 84 polling stations in the constituency.

"This implies that they were satisfied with the results and coming up at this stage is not right. I ask court to dismiss this application," he said.

The second respondent (the EC) in its affidavit told the court that the electoral process was calm, peaceful, and followed the right procedure.

Dr Kagabo welcomed the ruling, saying the exercise was free and fair.

He applauded the court for respecting the decision of the people of Bukoto South who voted for him.

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