President Museveni has intervened in the Entebbe Municipality election dispute which triggered public protests yesterday resulting in death of one person who was shot dead by a soldier of the Special Forces Command (SFC), a presidential guard unit.
Security forces in Wakiso and Entebbe towns yesterday battled supporters of opposition Democratic Party candidate Vincent Kayanja Depaul and those of NRM flag bearer Michael Mutebi for much of the day after the Wakiso district returning officer declared Fabrice Rulinda, an independent candidate, as the elect-ed mayor of Entebbe Municipality.
The NRM chairperson of Kitubulu-Katabi, Eric Kyeyune, was shot dead by SFC soldiers who had been deployed to calm the situation. Two other people were injured in the shooting and rushed to the hospital.
Trouble started as early as 6am when supporters of the two candidates sensed foul play and camped at the vote tally centre to defend their interests. In a rare show of solidarity, supporters of both the opposition and ruling party candidates protested what they called a declaration of a wrong winner.
Major Anthony Mbaziira from the Special Forces Command who was sent by President Museveni to calm the protesting NRM members said the President will meet the party candidate over the matter.
“President Museveni has said the votes will be reexamined, who-ever will have won the elections is the one who will be announced by the Electoral Commission. He has said he is going to meet the NRM candidate immediately, he has asked you to keep calm and avoid violence,” Maj Mbaziira said.
Mr Mbaziira told the NRM protesters that the SFC soldier who shot the deceased would be charged.
The NRM chairperson for Wakiso district Ms Jessica Ankunda said the officers responsible for the election fraud will be brought to book.
“Thank you for fighting for your victory, your right to vote. We are working on everything, give us today and tomorrow to straighten things out,” she said.
Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire told Daily Monitor that investigations into yesterday’s killing had started.
“Entebbe Police Station are investigating an incident of death by shooting. It is alleged that Incident happened at Entebbe Central Market where the deceased is believed to have been part of the riotous group who were protesting the declaration by Wakiso returning officer of the mayoral aspirant, an independent candidate in the race for Entebbe Municipality, a one Fabrice Rulinda as the winner of the Monday mayoral elections,” he said.
Incumbent Entebbe Mayor Mr Kayanja later told the media, the EC declaration of Mr Rulinda as the winner of the Monday elections was daylight “election fraud.”
“We have a set of Declaration of Results forms of the three candidates given to us by the Electoral Commission which shows that I rightfully won the elections with 5,672 votes, NRM’s Kabwama Mutebi was second with 5,257 and Fabrice Rulinda who was de-clared winner got 2,825 votes,” Mr Kayanja told the media in Entebbe yesterday.
“It is really sad to see the person who was in the third position at midnight with 2,802 was awarded 6,703 votes. He must have colluded with the Electoral Commission which added 3,911 votes. This was theft in broad daylight. Today marks NRM’s liberation day but it has turned out to be a day of tears as SFC shot dead a resident of Entebbe,” he said.
Mr Kayanja said several DP councillors were assaulted by soldiers at Wakiso district tally centre after they disagreed with the EC declaration of Mr Rulinda as the winner.
Both NRM and opposition agents said by midnight on Monday, Mr Rulinda was in the third position far behind Kayanga and Mutebi, but they were surprised he surpassed both candidates to win the election.
While declaring the result, Wakiso district returning officer, Mr Tolbert Musinguzi, who was heavily guarded by soldiers and police declared Rulinda winner, sparking immediate riots at the tally centre.
The security forces responded with teargas and live bullets for about 30 minutes before calm was restored. In a scuffle, three people were severely injured and taken to a nearby clinic for medical attention.
Shortly after the riots broke out, the tally centre was cordoned off and all councillors were thrown out and pushed about 200 metres away.
More soldiers were deployed and mounted several checkpoints between Wakiso town and the district headquarters to stop youths who were matching to the tally centre.
During an interview, Kayanja broke down as he decried the security forces’ action and his victory which was stolen at gun-point
"I appealed to the returning officer to recount. But Mr Musinguzi, advised me to file a formal petition to the Electoral Commission which could be handled after other municipalities are handled," Kayanja said.
Moments before the results were announced, Vincent Kayanja complained about the tally sheet projected on the screen as they were not matching with what his team had tallied.
Focus shifts to Entebbe
The protesters vowed never to leave the streets until the rightful winner was declared. They chanted People Power songs.
Ms Scholastica Baguma, NRM flag bearer for Entebbe Division A chairmanship, said: “We had love for NRM, we have worked for the party but got nothing. Mutebi won the elections but they declared someone who was in the third position as the winner. We have decided not to leave the streets until Mutebi is declared the winner. If he is not, we shall quit the party,” she decried.
Mr Hamza Masembe another NRM supporter in the municipality said the declaration was an open robbery.
"We can't let Mr Rulinda sit in office yet he didn't win. Soldiers sabotaged everything since yesterday and they told the registrar of Wakiso to declare Rulinda on gunpoint. We are still protesting until they declare Mr Mutebi as the winner," he said.
According to official results released by EC Mr Rulinda polled 6703 votes and in the second position was NRM’s Mutebi with 6342 votes. In the third position was Democratic Party’s Vincent Kayanja who is also the incumbent with 5576 votes.
Others in the race were; National Unity Platform’s Olive Nassuna who scored 2499 votes, Alliance for National Transformation’s Kenneth Ssimbwa (45 votes), former Entebbe municipality MP Muhammad Kawuma (521 votes) and Gerald Muwonge (13 votes).
By Paul Adude, Eva Muganga & Benson Tumusiime