What you need to know:
- To mitigate the impact of rain, he said polling officials at churches and schools had been advised to shift the exercise indoors, while those in open areas were instructed to temporarily halt the exercise to prevent damage to polling materials.
The voting exercise across 173 polling stations in Hoima district faced delays on Thursday morning as some polling stations struggled to start after 8 am.
This delay was primarily caused by the absence of ten voters who are required by the electoral commission to be present at polling stations by 7am to witness and allow the exercise to commence.
The people of Hoima are today participating in a by-election to fill the vacant position of district chairman, following the death of former LCV chairman Kadiri Karungi in a road crash on March 17 along the Kampala-Hoima road.
The rain started on Wednesday night in most parts of the district, and by Thursday 10am, it was still raining, significantly impacting voter turnout.
In Kitoba, Kigorobya, and Kigorobya town mosque polling stations, located in Kigorobya County, polling materials arrived early before 7am, but voters delayed to arrive due to the rain, causing the exercise to commence towards 8am. Even after the exercise had started, voters continued to arrive one by one.
At Dwoli Primary School and Dwoli Church of Uganda polling stations, the exercise was underway by 10am, but there were still few voters.
Hoima District has a total of 94,824 registered voters, comprising 48,532 females and 46,292 males, spread across 14 sub-counties and town councils.
According to Justice Simon Byabakama, the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, all polling materials were dispatched from Dwoli Primary School, which also serves as a tally center at 2am on Thursday. In a pre-polling meeting, he had encouraged voters to prioritize voting before tending to their gardens, given the rainy season.
The Electoral Commission spokesperson, Mr Paul Bukenya, acknowledged that the voting exercise had been disrupted by the rain, particularly during the morning hours, despite the timely arrival of voting materials.
“Our voting materials arrived before 7 am in the majority of polling stations but the challenge is that we had a heavy downpour that started last night but now (11 am) in some areas rain has stopped and we are encouraging people to go and start voting,” He said.
To mitigate the impact of rain, he said polling officials at churches and schools had been advised to shift the exercise indoors, while those in open areas were instructed to temporarily halt the exercise to prevent damage to polling materials.
Mr Bukenya also reported that they had not received any significant complaints, but only minor issues that did not disrupt the voting process, apart from the rain.
Mr Uthuman Mugisha Mubaraka, the NRM candidate, who cast his vote at Dwoli Primary School, also acknowledged the low voter turnout due to the rain.
The candidates in the by-election included Mr Patrick Musinguzi of the Forum for Democratic Change (DFC), Mr Uthuman Mugisha Mubaraka (NRM), Mr Moses Aguuda (NUP), and Independent candidates Mr Vincent Muhumuza and Lenox Mugume.