Kayunga LC5 election: Mixed reactions as NUP loses to NRM

Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze (centre) and NUP candidate Harriet Nakwedde (right) address the media shortly after the final results were declared in Kayunga Town on December 17. PHOTO/ISAAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • The Electoral Commission declared NRM’s Andrew Muwonge winner with 31,830 votes against National Unity Platform’s Harriet Nakweede, who managed a close 31,308 votes. 

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate for the Kayunga District top local government administrative seat, Mr Andrew Muwonge, was yesterday declared winner, polling 31,830 votes against his closest contender, National Unity Platform’s (NUP) Harriet Nakwedde, who managed a close 31,308 votes. 

The police then quickly surrounded the Election Commission (EC) staff and the chairperson-elect and led them out of the hall used to declare the final results. 

Some 10 NRM supporters then carried the victor shoulder-high, chanting while the NUP party supporters barricaded across the road were chanting their own slogans too. 

But the latter were outnumbered by the police, which quickly dispersed them by the threat of numbers.
Ms Nakwedde then moved out of the tally centre after the declaration and broke down. 

Later, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze held a brief press conference, comforting Ms Nakwedde to remain firm.

“We have won the struggle. We contested against the dictator,” Ms Namboze said, but did not elaborate. 
She said “on many occasions, victory doesn’t mean assuming office.” 

Outside the tally centre, angry NUP supporters protested the declaration and wondered how Mr Muwonge would lead them when he is “just imposed on them”.

But the story in the run-up to the declaration of the final results was nothing short of the drama and obscure.
At exactly 6am, the EC team led by Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama made its way into the Kayunga by-election tally centre at a hall in the district headquarters. 

The team was welcomed by the returning officer, Ms Jennifer Kyobutungi, who an hour earlier had concluded announcing the results from the different polling centres across the districts. 

In a few minutes, she said, the commission would declare the results, bringing an end to a tense affair. 
Ms Nakwedde stood up and asked permission to address the team led by Justice Byabakama, but Ms Kyobutungi guided her that it would only be possible after the results have been declared. 
A little patience, she essentially declared, would not hurt, but she grudgingly sat down.

Earlier, Ms Nakwedde had posted an unassailable lead before the returning officer started declaring results where the NRM candidate was getting more than 800 votes per polling station against zero for Ms Nakwedde.

When her agent stood up to protest what he said was “fraud”, the Counter-Terrorism Police personnel quickly pushed him out of the tally centre. 

Mr John Mary Ssebufu, a councillor from Nakawa West, a NUP agent, was whisked from the tally centre to an unknown destination. 

Earlier results showed Ms Nakwedde was leading with 35,212 votes followed by Mr Muwonge with 20,661 votes.  

The total number of cast votes was 65,332, with rejected or invalid votes standing at 947, while spoilt votes were 91.

But something soon changed. The returning officer appeared to receive a string of calls, waited by her table, moved around before shifting to the tables where her staff had been tabulating the results. 

Minutes later, she took off. Pink files with what seemed like declaration forms were brought at the tallying table by her assistant. 

She took over one of the computers and, surrounded by the staff, started tabulating the results again. 
By 8.49am, her team of eight people were working, scanning the documents and consulting each other. 

The exclusive team in the tally centre, including journalists, security personnel, the two leading candidates, about five observers and the EC staff were not briefed publicly about what was going on. So everyone in the room was left speculating. 

Outside the tally centre, a force of heavily armed Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Counter-Terrorism Unit personnel and the regular police personnel surrounded the venue. People, especially journalists, were not allowed to return once they exited the venue.  

More than two days of no sleep, hunger and fatigue soon took their toll on everyone, including the commission staff. 

At around 8.57am, the returning officer returned to her desk but continued working her phone and a document. She was yet to say anything. 

Finally, the music playing in the background was switched off, she sanitised and people began to flock back into the room. 

The MC took over and the ceremony commenced. 
This was followed by a brief speech from the EC secretary and the EC chairperson, Mr Simon Byabakama. 
He expressed the commission’s commitment to work with Ugandans to ensure that elections are peaceful, and transparent.

The Results
1. Andrew Muwonge (NRM) - 31,830 votes
2. Harriet Nakwedde(NUP) - 31,308
3. Majid Nyanzi(IND) - 1,287
4. Boniface Musisi (IND) - 470
5. Jamilu Kamoga (IND) - 279
6. Anthony Waddimba(DP) - 158.