Wednesday February 24 2016

Low voter turnup as polls for district and local council leaders open

Kampala lord mayor Erias Lukwago and his family

Kampala lord mayor Erias Lukwago and his family members cast their vote at Bulwa trading center, Wakaliga in Kampala on Wednesday. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa 

By Monitor Team

Voting for the district LCVs chairpersons and mayors has started in most parts of the country with very low voter turnup compared to the February 18 presidential and parliamentary elections as observed by our reporters.
At Molly ad Paul, one of the biggest polling stations in Makindye division in Kampala, only 50 people had lined up to vote by 11am.
And in Moroto district, three candidates including Mr Andrew Napak Keem the former resident district commissioner of Kotido are contesting for the LCV seat. By 9am most polling stations in Moroto Municipality were opened but there were no voters.

Although voting materials were delivered in time at most polling stations in Mukono district, polling officials remained idle for the better part of morning as voters started appearing in very small isolated numbers.
Several voters were heard complaining of fatigue, while others said they were demoralized after their presidential candidate lost in the February 18 elections that saw president Yoweri Museveni of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) declared winner.
Meanwhile, at Nakiwogo- Banga , there is heavy Police deployment, with low voter turnup.
At least 377 candidates will today compete for district leadership, 193 of them as independents.

This is more than what the ruling party, the NRM fielded for the same: 110—a candidate in each of the contestable district but Alebtong.
A list of candidates contesting for the district chair shows the People‘s Progressive Party is the least represented with only one candidate.
The Democratic Party (DP), the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and the Uganda peoples Congress (UPC) share 71 candidates among themselves—15, 43 and 13, respectively. Jeema tags along with only two candidates.
Eleven candidates are already unopposed, all belonging to NRM.

Jinja District is the most hotly contested district, with eight candidates. The competition will be between five Independents notably the former district chairman, Lt Hannington Bakasana (Independent), perennial contestant Robert Kanusu, who recently ditched his mother party UPC to join Go Forward and candidates from the three main political parties.
A former Jinja chairperson and retired soldier, Lt Basakana is in the race carrying the baggage of his past leadership. To some in Jinja, Lt Basakana, is arrogant and abusive. Stories are told in Jinja of Mr Basakana driving in the middle of the road and refusing to give way on the pretext that he is the district CEO (chief administrative officer) and has the right to drive as he wills. He always moves with a cane to whip idle youth to work.

Other districts with a clogged contest include Otuke, Sembabule, Tororo, Nwoya and Butambala, each with six contestants.
In Kamuli District, the competition is between Mr Thomas Kategere (NRM), who is tussling it out with four Independents.
In Masaka District, major competition is between the Democratic Party’s Jude Mbabaali and the incumbent NRM chairperson, Mr Joseph Kalungi.
Mr Mbabaali, a lawyer by profession, has previously contested for the Bukoto Central constituency but has twice been defeated controversially by the incumbent MP, Mr Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi.

He is in today’s race with the full backing of DP and expects to beat the incumbent, whose term has been dogged with lack of street lighting and lack of a district headquarters. Currently, the district leadership is housed in Buganda Kingdom buildings.
Mr Mbabaali has been campaigning on the promise of securing a district headquarters and delivering a lit Masaka. Tapping into his legal practice, he opened a law firm in the district to offer pro bono legal service to his people.

In Mukono, the district chairperson race has attracted four competitors: Mr Andrew Ssenyonga (NRM), Mr Musa Kiggundu (Independent), Mr Tom Fisher Kasenge (Independent), a former RDC Mukono District and Mr Godfrey Kirega Musisi (DP).
Mr Ssenyonga, who has twice contested for this seat and failed, stands higher chances of winning the race given the overwhelming support he enjoys and because his main competitor, Francis Lukooya opted to contest for the Nakifuma County MP seat.

Reported by Stephen Kafeero, Jessica Sabano, Dominic Bukenya, Abubaker Luibowa and Steven Ariong