FDC's Winfred Kiiza wins Kasese by-election

Thursday August 9 2012

FDC's Kizza wins Kasese by-election

Winfred Kiiza voting at St Theresa Girls Secondary School, Kisinga Sub County, at 8:30am on Wednesday. The FDC candidate beat NRM's Rehema Muhindo to retain the Kasese district woman parliamentary seat. Photo by Felix Basiime. 

By Felix Basiime, Enid Ninsiima & Thembo Kahungu

FDC’s Winfred Kiiza has soundly beaten the NRM candidate, Ms Rehema Muhindo, in the Kasese District Woman Parliamentary seat, a result that continues a string of by-election losses for the ruling party.

Ms Kiiza, the incumbent before a re-election was ordered by the Court of Appeal, polled 97,669 votes while Muhindo managed 59,946 votes. DP’s Rosemary Masika was third with a marginal 1229 votes. 230 votes were declared invalid, while 209 ballot papers were spoilt.

This means that Ms Kiiza wins the election with 61.31 per cent of the total votes cast, with the margin between her and the NRM candidate at a healthy 37,723 votes.

Ms Kiiza was declared the winner by the Electoral Commission at 2:20am on Thursday.

The electoral commission was yet to release a detailed breakdown of the results from the district’s five constituencies by press time. However, earlier results from two constituencies, Bukonzo East and Kasese Municipality, had already projected a win for Ms Kiiza.

The FDC candidate carried Kasese Municipality with 11, 024 votes, while Ms Muhindo polled 7094 votes, a difference of 3930 votes.

The NRM fared much worse in Bukonzo East, where their candidate, Ms Muhindo, only managed 8075 votes, compared to Ms Kiiza’s 27,879 votes. Ms Kiiza comfortably carried the constituency with a difference of 19,795 votes.

The FDC candidate also won in constituencies originally thought to be NRM strongholds.

At one polling station in Mahango, Ms Kiiza had 900 votes while Ms Muhindo managed only one vote.

Celebrations by FDC supporters started as early as 6:00pm on Wednesday evening as early results showed that Ms Kiiza was leading in most polling stations across the district. The supporters thronged streets in Kasese town waving tree branches and chanting “no change”, while others blew whistles, accompanied by boda boda cyclists

Four candidates were nominated for the by-election ordered by the Court of Appeal on June 4 on grounds of non-compliance with electoral laws by the Electoral Commission following an appeal by Ms Muhindo. However one candidate, Ms Betty Kayezu, pulled out of the race.

DP’s Rosemary Masika polled indifferently throughout the district.

The last days of the race have seen police and the army deploy heavily in the district to supposedly keep law and order. A number of FDC youth agents were yesterday rounded up by security forces, with some charged in court for inciting violence.

The elections however went on peacefully without any cases of violence reported.

Salaamu Musumba, the FDC vice president was detained by Police, and some FDC supporters claimed they had failed to vote because their names were not in the voter's register.

The army also blocked Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) agents from accessing some polling stations.

FDC’s Major Rubaramira Ruranga was also blocked from accessing two polling stations at Hima army detach, in Hima town council. The army detach is the headquarters of the 305 brigade.

The opposition has now won seven of eight parliamentary by-elections since the 2011 general elections.