Tuesday August 7 2012

Kasese by-election: IGP warns opposition

By Sheila Naturinda & Frederic Musisi


Tomorrow, voters in Kasese District will queue to choose for the second time a district woman MP after court nullified the results of the February 2011 polls that ushered into Parliament FDC’s Winnie Kiiza, a representative who later became the opposition chief whip.

As the Elections body yesterday announced that the situation was calm and promising a free poll, Inspector General of Police, Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, said things aren’t too good and the temperatures are hot.

Gen. Kayihura warned opposition officials, especially Mr Francis Mwijukye, to desist “from asserting himself in the by-election like he has done in previous ones” because he isn’t the chairman of the Electoral Commission.

At a joint briefing with the EC boss Eng Badru Kiggundu, Gen Kayihura said: “Who is Mwijukye? What is he? He is seen everywhere there is an election. He asserts himself everywhere.”

“Mwijukye is on bail and supposed to be of good conduct, not meant to leave his home area Buhweju. Together with a lady called Doreen they keep giving orders and even me one time they gave me orders, what’s the role of such people?”

Tomorrow’s Shs590 million by-election is the seventh during the term of the Ninth Parliament after court nullified a series of others for reasons ranging from candidates lacking requisite academic qualifications and bribery to failure to adhere to electoral laws.

The Eighth Parliament 2006-2011 witnessed 18 by-elections of which four were necessitated by the death of incumbents. After the Kasese ballot, the EC will have another two in waiting, one precipitated by the sudden death of former Usuk MP Micheal Oromait and another after court faulting the commission for errors in Butambala district.

In the majority of these by-elections, the ruling NRM party has lost and had its Parliamentary majority whittled down by five members, although they retain their an unassailable numerical strength.

Gen. Kayihura said he had just passed-out police commandos and they would counter all kanyamas (hired muscle men) in the area whom some candidates use to intimidate their opponents and also cause rigging in the elections.

Mr Mwijukye is a member of the National Executive Committee of the leading opposition party, FDC. When contacted for commented yesterda, he said Gen. Kayihura’s job is to protect him whether he is in Buhweju, in Kasese or in Kampala.

“My party has been accredited to be part of this by-election and I will be in every by-election the party is accredited to participate in. It is, therefore, not up to police or their boss to determine where am supposed to be at what time,” he said.

He added; “I don’t see Gen. Kayihura’s interest in the election because he doesn’t belong to any party and if he has issues with my bail let him go to court and complain.”

Meanwhile, at least 1,500 voters in Kasese district are likely to face prosecution following the Electoral Commission’s voter register update which captured them as having made multiple registrations, Eng. Kiggundu said.

Eng. Kiggundu said his team has captured 1,229 persons as duplicates and had deleted their names from their first point of registration but left them captured in data on their final date of registration so that they aren’t disenfranchised.

“The file containing these people will be scrutinised further for possible prosecution since registering more than once is an offence under the electoral laws of Uganda,” he said. He said 303,127 voters are registered to vote in the district’s 473 polling stations.

Upon conviction for multiple registrations under Uganda’s electoral laws, one is either fined Shs600,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding one year or both.
Ms Kiiza had beaten NRM’s Rehema Muhindo with a margin of 1,400 votes last year. The by-election race has also attracted a Democratic Party candidate Rosemary Masika.