Wednesday February 23 2011

LIVE TEXT: Mayoral Elections updates

Mayoral candidate Edward Francis Babu talks to journalists after casting his vote at All Saints Cathedral voting centre. He said the former Mayor Nasser Sebagala has been behind the electoral malpractice.

Mayoral candidate Edward Francis Babu talks to journalists after casting his vote at All Saints Cathedral voting centre. He said the former Mayor Nasser Sebagala has been behind the electoral malpractice. PHOTO BY YUSUF MUZIRANSA 

2100 EAT: Four opposition flag bearers in the 2011 presidential elections will tomorrow, February 24, hold a press briefing at Youth Sharing Hall Nsambya. At the press briefing, the four candidates, Kizza Besigye, Olara Otunu, Nobert Mao and Samuel Lubega, will issue a joint statement.

1800 EAT: Democratic Party (DP) presidential candidate, Norbert Mao, says that in Gulu District, five stuffed ballot boxes were reportedly found in Lalogi Sub County. Writing on his facebook page, Mr Mao adds, “Another shocker is that those whose names were missing from the EC Register during Presidential elections are now on the register. The election officials say, ‘this register is different from the one used for presidential elections.’ What a charade!”

1730 EAT: The former Member of Parliament for Mawogola County, Issa Ntumwa, has been arrested by the police and detained at Ssembabule Central Police Station for allegedly inciting violence. Mr Ntumwa was arrested at Lugusuru SubCounty whil he was leading a group of pro-Herman Ssentongo youths who were said to be carrying clubs and barbed wire rolls. Also arrested was Steven Kabula from Kyamenya village and John Mugunga of Ntente Village. Mr Ssentongo, the incumbent Ssembabule District LC5 chairperson, who is running on the independent ticket, is tussling it out with the NRM flag bearer, Dr Elly Muhumuza, to retain his seat in a highly contested election.

1644 EAT: At least 10 people in Iganga District have been arrested over involvement in election related violence. The accused claim to be agents of Patrick Kayemba, an independent candidate contesting for the district LCV seat. They were arrested in the morning from Igombe Sub County armed with sticks and stones. Mr David Manzi, the district police commander of Iganga, confirmed to Daily Monitor the arrest of the 10 people.

1640 EAT: Elections for the district chairpersons and councilors in Bukedea were conducted with some polling areas experiencing violent scenes and allegations of intended ballot theft. Richard Otim reports that sources in the district say in Kachumbala Sub County where the NRM flag bearer Wilberforce Tukei comes from, ballot papers were allegedly recovered from some people.

The polling stations of Kotia Mukongoro, Akwarikwar, Kakere Aligoi and Kongatuny primary school were among those affected by election practice. In a number of the polling stations across the district cases of massive ballot stuffing were reported and suspects apprehended.

1650 EAT: There has been a much lower voter turn up in the whole of Lango sub region during this Local council election compared to that of presidential election. Rain also briefly disrupted voting in Kole and some parts of Oyam. Hudson Apunyo reports that in Lira Municipality, voting started after 7am in most polling stations and voters have been trickling in throughout the day. Very few voters had cast their votes by 3pm at Lira Modern Primary School where there are three polling stations. Lira Modern II (A-A) polling station with 650 registered voters had only 170 who had cast their votes.

At Lira Modern III (B- Z), out of 514 registered voters, 115 had cast their votes and at Corner Kamdini, out of 827 registered voters, 140 had cast their votes. Voters continue to trickle in and there was no queue compared to that of presidential election where voters stood in long lines to wait for their turn to vote. Similar turn up pattern have been reported in Kole, Amolatar, Oyam, Otuke, Alebtong, Dokolo and Apac districts. There has been no major incident of irregularities reported at the police in all the eight districts of Lango. PRO Central north Henry Alyanga said he has talked to a number of officers and they have not recorded any incident in their stations.

1646 EAT: A polling official from Mayuge District has been arrested for driving in the same vehicle with a candidate in the ongoing LCV elections. Ms Juliet Nabirye, 30, a polling assistant at Ddwaliro Zone in Mayuge town council, was arrested by the District Security Officer. Her offence was to accept to be transported in the same vehicle as a candidate running in the same election that she was supposed to oversee.

1605 EAT: The District Registrar of Amuru District, Paul Waneki, says his office has nullified results from six polling stations from Okwalongwen Sub County, Dokolo County in Amuru District where massive rigging is reported to have taken place. “Any one with complaints can go to the courts of law which have the mandate to order for recount of the results,” said Mr Waneki. At one of the polling stations, although there are 700 voters, the results from it had 7,000 cast votes in favour of Okot Ogong.
Final results earlier declared by Mr Waneki gave Mr Ogong victory in the election with 22,563 votes while his runner-up, Paul Amoru, got 17, 096 votes. Nelson Okolamong of the UPC got 497 votes and Pius Echari Obote of UFA 208 votes.

1550 EAT: Police has heavily deployed in the South Western region as the elections for the LC V Chairpersons are being conducted. The regional Police Spokesperson, Ms Polly Namaye, says they have not experienced any chaotic scenes.
“The people are calm and no cases of electoral offences have been registered so far,” she said. “We will keep monitoring the whole exercise.” In Kabale District, the police and army presence was felt in all parts of the district. By 12.30pm, no electoral offence had been reported to police.

1548 EAT: Before voting was called off across the entire Kampala, a scuffle was witnessed at Kapeka Polling station, which is located near Super FM in Rubaga Division. The polling station was eventually closed off by the Police boss of Kampala Metropolitan Area, Andrew Sorowen, following alleged unregistered voters overrunning the voting centre.

Robert Mwanje reports that at around 10am, people were ferried in lorries to this polling station to take part in the voting exercise. However, these voters are not registered in this area. This prompted some voters from the area to pick up canes and start beating up every suspected ‘foreign voter’. Among those beaten were two journalists Lydia Nabaziwa of Bukedde and Nicholas Bbale of Channel 44.

Voting came to a standstill as the voting materials, particularly the boxes, were vandalised and squashed and ballot papers hidden inside Super FM radio. Police were heavily deployed to curb the situation in the area that had broken into rioting while Mr Sorowen suspended voting – long before the Electoral Commission eventually came out and called off voting in the entire city.

1403 EAT: There is heavy deployment of police and military in and around Kampala city in an apparent effort to prevent the simmering chaotic situation after incidents of ballot stuffing were reported in different polling stations in the city centre. Risdel Kasasira reports that in Kawempe and Rubaga, where rigging has been reported, police and military are patrolling the areas to prevent clashes between supporters of rival mayoral candidates Erias Lukwago and Peter Ssematimba. At different polling stations in Mbogo and Kirokole zones in Kawempe, long lines of military and police are patrolling the areas. In Rubaga, police have surrounded Super FM and closed Kapeka polling station after allegations that voters were being ferried from far places to vote.

1350 EAT: Police in Gulu has arrested a mayoral candidate for Gulu Municipality, Patrick Oola Lumumba, has for allegedly campaigning at a polling station this morning. Mr Lumumba was picked up by the police from Kasubi Parish in Bardege Division after he allegedly drove to one of the polling stations with his campaign posters pinned all over his vehicle. The Criminal Investigations Officer, Moses Byabagye, said in an interview that it is against the law for a candidate to go to a voting venue with campaign materials. “Campaigns ended yesterday, Tuesday, we arrested him because he failed to comply with the law,” said Mr Byabagye. Mr Lumumba is contesting against Alex Otim (Independent), George Labeja (NRM), and Robert Odongakulu of DP for the Mayoral seat in Gulu Municipality.

1345 EAT: There is heavy deployment of police and military in and around Kampala city in an apparent effort to prevent the simmering chaotic situation after incidents of ballot stuffing were reported in different polling stations in the city centre. Risdel Kasasira reports that in Kawempe and Rubaga, where rigging has been reported, police and military are patrolling the areas to prevent clashes between supporters of rival mayoral candidates Erias Lukwago and Peter Ssematimba. At different polling stations in Mbogo and Kirokole zones in Kawempe, long lines of military and police are patrolling the areas.In Rubaga, police have surrounded Super FM and closed Kapeka polling station after allegations that voters were being ferried from far places to vote.

1341 EAT: Our reporter in Zombo district, Patrick Ongom, reports that two people are being detained at Paidha central police station after they were arrested in connection with bribing of voters. The two, both agents of Mr John Orwiny, were arrested at Oturungang primary school polling station while distributing money to voters who turned out to cast their votes. Ms Joice Ayenya and an unidentified man are still being detained at the police answering charges of bribery. But at Zaale, the incumbent LC5 chairman, Mr Emmy Kakura Kizito cast his vote and said he would go for victory.

1339 EAT: Our reporters Warom Felix & Peter Aligo reports from Arua and Koboko that the turnout of voters is getting worse for local council five elections in Koboko District in the polling stations like Aliba in Midia Sub-county, resource centre, Boma ground and Nuru Islamic in Koboko Town Council, there were miserable number of voters by mid day. At Arua Public primary school, the polling officials are suffering from the sunshine as they continue to wait for voters to trickle in. The duration of people tunring out is now 15 to 25 minutes. Some say that many are still preparing lunch and polling officials expect to come after lunch.

1335 EAT: Activity at two polling stations in Jinja was paralysed for close to two hours after skirmishes broke out following an angry attack by one of the LC V candidates and his aides. The skirmishes were sparked off by allegations of ballot stuffing. Robert Kanusu, the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) candidate for the district chairmanship, attacked polling officials at Kayunga A polling station at Mafubira Sub County headquarters, accusing them of involvement in electoral malpractices.

1330 EAT: There was confusion at Bugonga Polling Station in Entebbe in Wakiso District early this morning after voters discovered that the ballot papers that electoral officials were giving them were meant for Mbale District. Some of the voters from Bugonga I and II polling stations had already cast their votes when vigilant polling agents discovered that the voters had been casting their ballots for councillors from a district in eastern Uganda. “We were told to vote either the bus or the hoe. We don’t read names and see the photos of the aspiring candidates,” said Johnson Matovu, one of the voters, speaking in Luganda.

1346 EAT: Kampala Mayoral Candidate, Michael Mabikke, has called on the EC to suspend NRM candidate,  Peter Ssematimba, over alleged massive rigging that has rocked the Kampala mayoral race. Hundreds of pre-ticked ballot papers and stuffed ballot boxes have been recovered by the police in the early hours of voting this morning, with many of them pre-ticked in favour of Mr Ssematimba. Speaking from the Daily Monitor offices at 12.48pm, Mr. Mabikke said what EC was conducting in Kampala was not an election but a circus. He also expressed disappointment at the improper manner in which the mayoral election has been organised.

1241 EAT: The Electoral Commission has cancelled the Kampala Mayoral elections over reported electoral fraud. The announcement was made at an impromptu press conference a few minutes ago.

1230 EAT:The Electoral Commission has called an urgent press conference at its headquarters in along Jinja Road regarding the controversial Kampala Mayoral elections. The press conference is due to start anytime, according to our reporter Sheila Naturinda. Details to follow….

1230 EAT: Elections in the areas of Fort Portal and Mbarara are going on in relative calm. Daily Monitor reporters in Western Uganda report that security deployment is at a minimal. Visits to the various polling stations still on going.  

1230 EAT: There is a low voter turn up for mayoral elections in the areas of Nakawa, Ntinda and Makerere University Business School (MUBS). Our reporters, Flavia Nalubega and Flavia Lanyero, say that by 11 am, very few people had turned up in all the 286 polling stations to cast their vote which the poling agents attributed to reluctance and lack of motivation for the voters. They say residents are coming in one by one and many polling stations are almost empty with no voters. Polling agents are however still hopeful that by the end of the day, they will have got a countable number of voters. Polling stations were open by 7:30 and all the voting equipment were in place by the time.

1205 EAT:One of the LC V aspiring candidates in Kibuku District, Mr Charles Kadyama, was last night attacked and beaten into coma by unknown people who were armed with guns. Our reporter, Mercy Nalugo, says the incident happened at around 11pm. Mr Kadyama, who is standing on the Independent ticket, was waylaid on his way back home and was severely clobbered at Nampito village. Mr Kadyama is contesting with the NRM candidate, Mohamed Nakeba, who is being supported by the area MP, Saleh Kamba. Mr Kadyama, who is reportedly in bad condition, is being attended to by his relatives at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.

1158 EAT:The Presiding Officer for Mayor’s Garden Polling station in Moyo District, Francis Apiliga, was arrested at 4am after he was found distributing money to voters for one of the LC V candidates. The Officer in charge of Electoral and Political Crime, Mr Ignatius Dragudu, told Daily Monitor this morning that they are still interrogating Mr Apiliga.
“We even found him with the list of the polling agents of the LC V candidate and we are not taking this lightly because this is an electoral offence,” he said. Mr Apiliga’s deputy has taken over and is now presiding over the elections.

1130 EAT: In Rubaga Division, Kakeeka polling station, there were ugly scenes after Mr Ssematimba’s supporters turned rowdy and clashed with Mr Lukwago’s supporters who had intercepted a rigging plan. It took the intervention of the military police to calm the situation. Voters who had gathered to cast their ballots scampered to safety.

1100 EAT: The voter turnout in Wakiso District is reportedly low. The Vice President, Prof Gilbert Bukenya, who hails from Wakiso District, has attributed the low voter turnout in his home area to election fatigue.

1030 EAT: In the central districts of Kayunga, Mpigi and Mukono, reports indicate that there is a low turnout of voters. According to Daily Monitor reporters in these areas, it takes between 30 minutes and one hour for a voter to turn-up to cast their ballots. One of the polling stations where this was evident is Mawokota South Constituency in Mpigi District. At Buwere polling station, only five people had voted out of 585 voters on the register while at Nabiteete Polling Station, 20 people had voted by 10am out of the total of 748 registered voters.

0830 EAT: At least seven boxes packed with pre-ticked ballot papers were this morning intercepted at Bat Valley and Public Library polling stations in Kampala. Confusion ensued in these areas, forcing Electoral Commission officials to suspend the exercise in some of the areas around Kampala. In one the boxes counted at around 8am at Bat Valley in the presence of our reporter, Yasiin Mugerwa, there were 399 pre-ticked ballot papers in favour of Peter Ssematimba, the mayoral candidate for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. Details to follow in a more comprehensive story shortly…

0735 EAT: The Electoral Commission has as well suspended voting at the National Theatre polling station in Kampala due to rigging noted earlier in the morning. Our reporters, Flavia Nalubega and Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, say voting at this station started as early as 4am and had ended by 6am – one hours before the the arrival of official polling agents. By the time they came, all the boxes were full. “We have just arrived. Only four people have voted officially but the ballot boxes are already full,” said one of the polling agents at 7:30am. Following the revelation, the Electoral Commission Vice Chairman, Joseph Biribonwa, ordered for the temporary closure of the polling station until new boxes and ballot papers are been brought from the Electoral Commission headquarters.

0730 EAT: The turn up of voters in Mukono District for the election of Local Council leaders is very low. Though most electoral officials started the exercise in time, the majority of the officials that our reporter, Johnson Mayamba, spoke to say people have not turned up as expected before.

One the Mukono District councillors, Jamil Kakembo, claims that the Electoral Commission did not do sufficient civic education about the importance of the Local Council leaders in their areas. Some of the voters that our reporter spoke to say that they have to first work before coming to vote while others claim that in the previous elections of the president and the members of parliament, their votes were not respected. They say there was massive rigging and they suspect the situation will be similar at local council elections whether they vote or not.

0700 EAT: Voting was due to start at different polling stations across the country at this time. We are already receiving reports of several developments in different parts of the country, with the most controversial being from the hotly contested Kampala Mayoral race with six candidates. Details to follow shortly…