Uganda: FDC Candidates Call for Resignation of Ntugamo Returning Officer Over 'Incompetence'

26 January 2021

Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party candidates in both Parliamentary and Local Government elections in Ntungamo district have accused the district returning officer Latif Ngonzi of incompetence and failure to organize free and fair elections, asking for his resignation.

The call made during a joint post-election press briefing held at the district party offices in the Municipality was championed by defeated LCV candidate on FDC ticket, Matsiko Chripus.

Matsiko said the election in which he garnered 6,165 votes (4.30%) was, "Characterized by ballot stuffing in Ruhaama, multiple voting , late delivery of polling materials and military involvement where uniformed men lining up to cast their votes dismissed civilians from casting their votes especially in Ntungamo Municipality."

Ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidate, Samuel Mucunguzi NRM was declared winner with 126,027 votes (87.91%) in an election that is now being disputed by opposition.

"In Ntungamo district, the electoral process in not over until it over because we are petitioning court to declare the election conducted by Ngonzi as null and void, and prepare for another election since this man is incompetent to organize free and fair election," Matsiko noted.

He also accused the returning officer, polling officials and polling assistants of siding with security agencies and NRM party claiming that Electoral Commission in the district recruited polling officials who were put forward by RDC, DISO and GISO and others submitted by NRM candidates which antagonize with electoral laws.

"As FDC candidates we are putting forward our petitions in court, soon after gathering all necessary evidence such that we can have justice because we cannot look on as we see our country being shared by NRM crooks that may bring mayhem and anarchy in future," he added.

Matsiko argued that the reign of former district returning officer Robert Beine saw Ntungamo have free and fair elections since he was trusted and transparent.

For LCV Ntungamo Samuel Mucunguzi Rwakigoba NRM garnered 126027 votes (87.91%), followed by Kamugisha Gastone independent 9307 votes (6.49%),Karamira George ANT 1867 votes(1.30%) and Matsiko Chrispus 1665votes (4.30%).

The new Ntungamo district returning officer Latif Ngonzi succeeded Beine who had been in the office for the last 10 years but was transferred, 'at last minute', this year to greater Masaka region.

Losing legislative seat contenders for Kajara county and Ntugamo district, Alex Mutesa and Perez Rumanzi respectively, also backed the demand for Ngonzi's resignation.

Mutesa expressed dissatisfaction over the nature of election in his constituency.

"Now how can we know the exact votes we got yet our fellow candidate did not appear on the declaration form yet he was nominated and voted? What a mess! This is why we demand clear explanations for why Robert M Rwagara did not appear on the forms," Mutesa said.

Incumbent district chairperson Michael Timuzigu Kamugisha retained his seat after overcoming four candidates with 23,471 votes (70.15%), followed by Eliakim Kapson independent with 6,719 votes (20.08%), ANT's Naboth Baryahabwe got 1,771 votes (5.29%) while FDC's Alex Mutesa got 1,497 (4.47%) .

Rumanzi Perez who contested on Ntungamo Municipality MP seat but lost to NRM's Yona Musinguzi- said that FDC members dismissed the entire electoral processes.

"We had no elections in Ntungamo District, if there was election, may be spelling or the word but we did not see anything that symbolizes an election," Rumanzi said.

Rumanzi also punched hole in Uganda's judicial system saying that it may also not deliver alleging that the statehouse decides Ntungamo matters.

"These Kangaroo court may not even help us to get justice that Ugandans needs because these are Museveni's courts but shall not sit back to watch our country shatters," he added.

When contacted for comment the Ntungamo District returning officer Latif Ngonzi could not be reached at the time of filing this story.

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