The good, bad and the ugly in Kayunga LCV by-election

It was on 16th day of December 2021 when Kayunga District went to the polls to fill the LCV elective position following the mysterious death of the elected Chairperson in the January 2021 general elections. The polling exercise started with mysteries like delays in delivering polling materials at various polling stations including those like hospital grounds that are a few meters away from the Electoral Commission District Head Quarters.

Being a voter of the same district I was able to note what characterized the Kayunga LCV By-elections that I went further to categorize into three, the good, bad and the ugly as below;

The good:

 To men and women venturing in various businesses, Christmas came early to their businesses. Being the only high level by-election at the date, various party leaders and supporters flocked into the district joining their candidates in search for support as the polling day got closer, this increased pressure on the services like hotels and lodges the were full to capacity for over two (2) weeks accommodating these groups and so was the same to all other businesses that sold edibles and also the transport sector that was transporting these from one sub-county to another.

Those that invested in the public address systems who had been grounded for almost two years were also finally filled with joy since there systems were hired to make drives throughout various parishes and sub-counties in the district from day one after the nominations of these candidates that happened on the 29th and 30th November 2021.

A day before polling, several vehicles were seen distributing cash ranging from Shs. 4,000/= and Shs. 10,000/= to all interested voters who were willing to cast their votes in favour of the candidate of the distributor. Of course this was voter bribery but as a writer someone somewhere felt good after receiving the penny.

The bad:

The fact that different government officials including the President and Prime Minister had camped in the district for several days, this came along with heavy deployment in all towns and villages NUP strong holds being a priority.

It would be a good and an understandable idea if they only stuck on keeping law and order but these went only carrying out unlawful arrests of voters, agents and leaders of the National Unity Platform from there hotels and guest rooms. First was Hon. Mukasa Aloysious (MP Lubaga South) who was violently arrested at 8:45pm enrooting to his guest room in Bbaale Town before the 9:00pm Curfew as claimed by Uganda Police, next were Hon. Charles Tebandeke the area Member of Parliament for Bbaale Constituency and Hon. David Lukyamuzi Kalwanga the Busujju Honourable Member of Parliament and other councilors of different districts including Rt. Hon. Speaker Zurayika the KCCA speaker.

The forces went ahead to brutalize and intimidating citizens who had divergent views from those of the ruling party NRM. This exercise went on till morning and over 100 supporters were under police custody.

On the other hand, the Electoral Commission was reluctant of its duties of delivering polling materials in time to all the 338 polling stations in the district something that demoralized voters who had other fixed programs and others who had to run for work since 16th-Dec-2021 wasn’t declared a public holiday as it is always the case for general elections.

The ugly:

On the 14th day of December, being the last day of the campaigns, NUP president and the People Power principal was expected in Kayunga to add his voice to other party leaders who had been in the district before in search for votes of their candidate. However this didn’t happen following a heavy deployment that put him under house arrest till the polling day.

On the same day, Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake also the commissioner of Parliament who had found his way to the district and the Candidate herself (Nakwedde Harriet Kafeero) were beaten badly as they left the party offices for their final rally at Bishop Brown vocation School grounds.

At around 6:30am on the polling day, voters who had turned up to vote at seta Nakayinze Polling Station in Kangurumira Town council were surprised to find the presiding officer helped by the polling assistants, ticking their names a sign that is made on those that are done voting even before the official polling time hadn’t clocked not even the 10 voters on ground as prescribed by electoral laws. Looking at the ballot boxes, they were almost half way yet the official ballot booklets allocated to the polling station were still sealed. Surprising the Electoral Commission did nothing not even penalizing and suspend the polling officials.

At some polling stations down in the voting delayed due to failure of the Electoral Commission to pack the BVVK pins along with the machines something that seemed deliberate for a commission that had time and man power of over 80 returning officers from different districts.

Regardless of the above, the polling exercise went on till 4:00pm the official closing time and counting started and signed Declaration forms were issued to different agents of different candidates who later handed them to their respective coordinators for transportation to the district tally center where the candidates had camped with individual systems to sum up the results.

The scuffle however ensued at around 5:30am when the returning officer Ms. Jennifer Kyobutungi read one of the DR forms from Kayonza Sub-county when NRM’s Andrew Muwonge had 800 votes and NUP’s Harriet Nakwedde had 02 something that was contrary to the copy DR forms issued to different candidate’s agents.  Whoever tried to protest the results of this DR form were thrown out of the tally center these included KCCA Councilor Hon. Ssebuufu the in-charge of finance at the authority.

It was time for the magic hand to do whatever possible to see someone win even when NUP’s Harriet was ahead with over 10,000 votes from individual tallies based on the authentic DR forms issued by the polling officials of different polling stations.

And it was around 8;57am, the along waited verdict was passed. “I Kyobutungi Jennifer being the returning officer of Kayunga Electoral district, having added up the number of votes cast as recorded on each declaration of results form in accordance with the Local Government Act. Cap 243 (as amended) declare that the total number of valid votes cast for each candidate are Kamoga Jamilu (Independent) 279 votes, Musisi Boniface Bandikubi (Independent) 470 votes, Muwonge Andrew (NRM) 31830 votes, Nakwedde Harriet Kafeero (NUP) 31308 votes, Nyanzi Majid (Independent) 1,287 votes and Waddimba Anthony (DP) 158 votes. Accordingly as the Returning Officer for Kayunga Electoral District I declare Muwonge Andrew who has obtained the largest number of votes, winner for Kayunga Electoral District.” Says the Transmission of Results form (TR form) used to declare the results.

Kayunga becomes a battle zone, ballot stuffing in play

Written by 

Am Dhikusooka Brian a web app developer and an SEO Specialist at Interlet Limited. I am a writer at Cyclone Times Uganda and I love doing research so much. CONTACT ME ON +256701085038 OR +256775427530

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