Tuesday February 16 2016

EC urges Ugandans to turn out in big numbers and vote


BUDAKA-With less than two days for Ugandans to elect their future president and other national leaders, the Budaka District Electoral Commission (EC) registrar, Mr Mark Muganzi, is urging citizens to turn out in big number to exercise their constitutional right and vote for leaders of their choice.

Presidential and parliamentary elections which are slated for February 18 paint a picture of likely violence.

However, both the police and army have assured Ugandans that there will be no disruptions and have warned those planning to cause violence to expect harsh consequences.

“The EC urges Voters to come in big numbers and cast their votes because the Commission is 100 per cent ready to hold free and fair elections and people should not fear as its being anticipated. The elections will be peaceful. So, let people come and exercise their constitutional right to elect leaders of their choice,” Mr Muganzi said.

He said the EC had distributed Voter Location slips to enable the voters know where they will vote from and this was done by the sub-county supervisors. Mr Muganzi said the exercise registered a success and achieved its target.

Mr Muganzi, however, encouraged the few voters who haven’t picked their voter location slips to do so because the exercise is meant to reduce on the time each polling official spends on one voter.

“But all in all, people have overwhelmingly turned up and picked their voter location slips. This is quite good,” he said.

Mr Muganzi, said EC has also carried out Biometric Voter Verification demonstration twice at district purposely to address the growing concerns and fears of the new technology to be used in the forth-coming general elections.

“The demonstration was successful because many [voters] people turned up for the exercise. By close of the demonstration, at least more than 200 people witnessed how the technology works and this will minimise multiple voting and time wasting for those wishing to vote,” Mr Muganzi said soon after the exercise.

He explained that the EC has recruited 153 IT compliant polling assistants to man the gadgets at each polling station in Budaka District.
“The IT compliant polling assistant will work hand in hand with the presiding officials in order to have smooth elections,” he said.

This is the first time that such innovations are being unveiled by the EC to address concerns of multiple voting, which has been of great concern for the Opposition.

Budaka District has a total of 153 polling stations, and 86,834 voters.

Described as a milestone by the electoral body, the announcement that Uganda will for the first time in history employ the system comes less than a month to the commencement of the much anticipated national elections.

“The biometric Voter Verification System [BVVS], aims at improving the integrity of the electoral process thorough authentication of voter identity. This system basically uses finger prints to match them with voter details which will help the election officer to confirm that the voter is on the roll of that polling station,” EC chairperson Badru Kiggundu said.

More than 32,000 machines to cater for the 28,010 polling stations in the country were delivered and officials have been trained on how to use them.

The machines have been used in various countries including Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda and DRC.