Archive for the ‘Uganda Votes’ section
Countless people showed up to vote on election day only to be turned away for not being on the register. For our reporter, his quest to vote fast turned into a long and fruitless search for his name.
It was a clear morning on election day and I lined up at my respective polling station to cast my vote. As I waited for my turn, I felt both excited and anxious. It was that nervous feeling that something bad was going to happen today. But at that moment I did not know that this ‘bad’ thing was going to happen to me.
My polling station was at the Faith Trust Primary School, Kawotto in Kajjansi. At the time there were less than 50 people queuing to vote. This is the same polling station I voted from in 2006. I approach the table where officials are checking the register and handed them my voters card. After ten minutes I was told by the officials that I am not on their register.
“Please try the next polling station at Kitende Church of Uganda,” was the advice from one lady at the checking bench. How could it be that despite the fact that I have a voters’ card issued on January 3, 2006 I am not on the voters’ register?
The next polling station I was referred to is about a kilometre from Faith Trust. I walked there and after queuing for ten minutes I was told that my name was not on their register either. “Try thenext station along Entebbe road,” I was further advised.
My experience was not any different from many other registered voters in various parts of the country who could not cast their vote on election day. Clovice Nyakatura from Makindye Division had a similar story to tell after visiting two polling stations without finding his name on any of the registers.
“I went to the first polling station at the Gombolala where I was directed by a police officer to join the line where my name was meant to be listed. But after lining for 20 minutes I was told my name was not there,” said Nyakatura.
Nyakatura was advised to check with the Electoral Commission official that was handling the complaints. The official had left the station and was due to return after midday, it was now 9am.
Nyakatura jumped on a boda boda to the next station which was about a kilometre away but found his name missing again from the register. He lost patience and gave up participating in the vote. One possible reason for his name missing from the register is that he transferred from Kabale to Makindye- Madirissa zone but Nyakatura insisted he filled out the proper paperwork. Leyah, another voter from Mukono who preferred to give only her first name also found her name missing from the voters’ register. She had transferred her name at the EC from her last polling station in Bugolobi a year before.
“I showed up that morning and I was told that I was not on the register. I was told to try another station but my name was not there either. There were a lot of people like me who could not vote that day,” said Leyah.
At Seeta Church of Uganda, an estimated 200 people gathered outside the polling station after finding their names not on the register. It took the intervention of the police to calm down the group. Many in the group suspected they were intentionally disenfranchised since Seeta is a well-known opposition area.
While there is no official record yet from the public or the Electoral Commission about the disenfranchised voters, there are numerous complaints of individuals missing voting all around the country.
Prior to the election, I received an SMS from my telecom stating that I could “confirm your polling station for the upcoming election. Send your voter ID number or 17 digit handwritten number on your voter receipt to 8683 for free.”
I followed the instructions sending my registration number and got this reply: “Status: NOT VERIFIED. This number does not exist in the Voters’ Register! Please make sure you sent EC your correct voters’ number. If it was correct, please TYPE (Surname) SPACE (First Name) SPACE (Date of Birth) and SEND TO 8683 From: 8683”
Following this advice, I sent my name and date of birth as required but got this reply: “Your name does not appear in the voter’s register. This means that you did not register or you have not updated your information on the register. Please contact the Electoral Commission for further assistance. Good Luck. Uganda still needs you. From: 8683
From the National Voters’ Register Online, Sorry! The Voter ID entered seems not to exist in the system.” The following day I called the Electoral Commission and was advised to go and check with the data section which I did, getting a verbal confirmation from one of the staff that my name was indeed on the register. When I insisted on knowing the polling station she advised me to go to where I collected my voter’s card from.
With that assurance, I went to the polling station to cast my votes but it only turned into a walking and boda boda riding session as I travelled from one station to another in search of my name. I went to Water Polling Station Kitende, then Sissa Gombolola polling station, from where I proceeded to Muwana Polling station which is about four kilometers away from the previous two.
It was now past midday and I was still looking for my name and I could not find it anywhere. I gave it another shot at Uganda Clays and Kajjansi Dispensary with no positive result. I had already spent around 15,000 shillings on boda boda fares and could not afford to lose any more so I gave up my quest to vote.
Nakitende Jackie, is another voter’s card holder that missed voting. She checked three polling stations without any luck of finding her name before also giving up.
While this is the experience of a few we have talked to, there are many more out there who had a similar experience but have nowhere to voice their complaint. Some politicians expressed their fear to the Electoral Commission ahead of the polling day.
“I am writing to express my disappointment at the way you have handled my correspondences to your office and to report gross violation of electoral laws, to which you are aloof. It is now five hours into the polling day and despite an earlier correspondence of mine to your office, in which I sought explanation on the omission of the polling stations in Misindye Parish and Seeta Ward on the packing list, you have not responded.
Many of my supporters have been turned away from polling stations because their names don’t feature in the registers even when the Electoral Commission’s SMS system states that they fall under the polling stations in question.
It has also been discovered that in some registers, names in other alphabetical arrangements fall under N-Z. Such a mix up to me is a deliberate move to compromise the electoral process especially as the register is a vital document in the exercise,” read part of a letter addressed to the Electoral Commission by Betty
Nambooze MP for Mukono North (at the time contesting Mukono Municipality Parliamentary seat.)
Electoral Commission Publicist Paul Bukenya told the Kampala Dispatch that it was not disfranchisement but technical removal of double or multiple entries on the register which led to the problems, especially for those that transferred polling stations.
“The Commission gave everybody who was eligible to vote the opportunity to register and thereafter displayed the voter’s register for people to confirm including the electronic mechanisms we employed. The commission is satisfied that we did our best to enable eligible Ugandans to vote,” said Bukenya.
Bukenya said there are cases of people that registered twice and were removed from one area. He guessed that these people probably turned up in one area yet they are on the register elsewhere.
“We had a complaint desk in every area and there were cases that could be solved immediately and those that were deferred. What happened is that for those that transferred civic areas and did not fill transfer forms, their names were retained at the original place of registration,” Bekenya explained.
He said another problem was the reluctance by some people to check their status during the times when the Electoral Commission displayed the registers.
“We gave a chance to all to check with the registers between May and June last year, some people did and others did not. After that time we then compiled the final register which we displayed in the villages for 21 days,” explained Bukenya.
However, on close examination from the Data Centre at the Electoral Commission there is a possibility that some people could have been issued more than one voter’s card. For my case, I learned from the Data Centre that another card was issued in my names and details as per my first registration in Kansanga Our Lady of Mount Camry Polling station in Kampala District.
Hypothetically despite my transfer from Kampala District in 2005, my name has remained at the Kansanga Our Lady of Mount Camry in Makindye where the first card was issued.
The Electoral Commission staff in the data centre explained that this happened due to failure by the officials at the polling station to offer transfer forms to people in the transfer category to fill in.
“Please come back after April 7th when the elections are over then we can effect the transfer and issue you with a new card,” came the advice from a staff from the data centre.
I guess I will use the next few years to make sure that my voting credentials are in order. It was disheartening not to vote this year having voted in each election since 1996. But in 2016 I will be ready and properly credentialed. I hope.
by Savio Kyambadde
The Inter-Party Coalition (IPC) in Uganda has rejected the outcome of last week’s presidential and parliamentary elections citing widespread bribery by the NRM, intimidation of voters, and multiple voting.
In a joint statement presented by Dr. Kizza Besigye (FDC president) flanked by Mr. Olara Otunnu (UPC), Mr. Samuel Lubega (Independent) and DP’s Nobert Mao, Besigye said the electoral process was a sham and the IPC will not recognize any government formed out of these elections.
Besigye cited among other reasons for rejection of the results as threat of violence using the security forces, preticking of ballots and ballot stuffing, ghost polling stations and disfranchisement of voters among others.
The statement signed by four former presidential aspirants called on Ugandans to rise and peacefully protest against the outcome of the 2011 elections and demand no further fraudulent local government elections be conducted by the existing Electoral Commission.
They also demanded that fresh, free and fair general elections be organized under an independent, competent and representative Electoral Commission after a clean voters register has been compiled and uniform voter identification has been established.
“We call upon all our leaders in every district to organize and address peaceful public rallies and matches to call for fresh elections under the terms above,” urged Besigye quoting articles one and three of the Uganda Constitution.
by Savio Kyambadde
Elections in Kampala for local seats and for mayor have been suspended by the Electoral Commission after widespread ballot box stuffing was discovered around the city.
The disruptions began after 339 pre-ticked ballot papers for Mayoral candidate Peter Sematimba were discovered at Bat Valley polling station leading to disputes and violence between the different supporters. The police were called in and the station was closed to further voting.
The EC has also cancelled the Kampala LC5 councilors elections because of the irregularities. Many of the mayoral candidates has spoken out complaining about the rigging. No comment as of yet from NRM flagbearer Peter Sematimba.
Some of the disputed ballots were found at polling stations at Buganda Road Primary School, Bat Valley Primary School and National Theatre.
The election in most parts of northern Uganda was generally peaceful but characterize by military and police presence and late delivery of election materials. There were a few cases of violence and technical problems on the side of the Electoral Commission.
Otuke is a new district created from Lira District. On the day of polls there was noticeable excitement and great energy among voters. However the polls opened late in many polling stations. This included Adwari Sub County Okwang and Otuke Town Council. The delayed opening of polls was caused by the late delivery of election material and the onset of rains in Okwang Sub County.
In Abongorwot polling station in Orum sub county, election monitors did not turn up at the station, according to the presiding officer and no reasons were given. Between 50 to 70 could not vote at the polling stations because their names were missing. Others had to walk for long distances in order to vote. Violence was also reported outside the polling station and a woman identified as Christine was taken to health center after she was beaten on the head in a disagreement involving two supporters the rival candidates, Daniel Omara Atubo and Fr Jacinto Ogwal.
There was a heavy deployment of security in the town council, especially the police in the area that could have scared voters, although there was no confrontation reported.
Erute South, Lira Bistrict
This was one of the contentious constituencies in Lango Region, involving Lira NRM Chairman Sam Engola, incumbent John Odit and radio personality Okao Tema.
By observation, there was a lot of military presence in the sub counties of Amach and Agali and a lot of money was used in the run up to the voting. There was also vote buying on Election Day. No violence reported in the constituency on election day.
The release of the election results was delayed causing tension among voters and the candidates who were running out of patience. Election officials said the delay was caused by technical reasons. The registrar was put under pressure to declare results and many called on radios and threatened to hold protests if the results are not released. The results were later released on Saturday night.
There was confusion when the NRM flagbearer Okullu Alex found his name had been changed in the ballot paper. The names instead read Ekullu Alex, an omission from the Electoral Commission. As a result he has rejected the outcome of the elections, which he lost. Presence of police was noticed around the polling stations.
Many were arrested on accusation of buying votes as millions of shillings were intercepted by the police. Also 23 ballot papers were throw out after it was found allegedly “stamped” in favor of presidential candidate Dr Olara Otunu. The district registrar, Paul Warike said it was a printing error and the ballot papers had been replaced.
Gulu District, Acholi Region
A lot of intimidation and vote buying. The heavy deployment of soldiers and the police between, during and after election and the use of a lot of money, possibly billions of shillings by the state could have affected the election process. Missing names in the register had multiple occurrences and many people did not vote as a result. Late opening of polling stations was recorded in a number of places due to late delivery of materials. There was no violence reported.
by Denis Ongeng
The Electoral Commission has just announced that incumbent President Yoweri Museveni the winner of Uganda’s 2011 presidential ballot with 68.38 percent. Museveni finished the final tally with 5,428,369 votes, Electoral Commission chairman, Eng. Badru Kiggundu said in a press conference.
Inter-Party Cooperation flagbearer, Dr Kizza Besigye, finished the race with 2,064,963 or 26 percent of the vote. Democratic Party’s Norbert Mao was in third position having pulled in just 147, 708 votes.
Other results include Olara Otunnu of the Uganda People’s Congress, UPC with 125,059 votes, Betty Olive Kamya of the Uganda Federal Alliance with 52,782 votes, Abed Bwankia of the People’s Development Party with 51,708 votes, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali of the People’s Progressive Party with 34,688 votes and independent Samuel Walter Lubega with 32,726 votes.
The results mean another five year term for Museveni, bringing his time of rule to a potential 30 years. Heavy military and police deployment remains in the city in order to prevent any protests. It is unclear if the army or police will move to break up any celebrations.
The leading opposition candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye has said that they do not accept the results and has alleged massive rigging in the election. In a press conference today Besigye declined to answer whether or not he will call on his supporters to protest the final results.
Cities, towns and villages remain tense as the appointed time for the announcement of the final tally of the 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections fast approaches.
By law, the Electoral Commission must release the final results 48 hours after the close of polls. So we can expect an announcement by 5pm local time. There are some conflicting reports that the announcement will come earlier but nothing has been officially confirmed.
Across town from the National Tallying Centre at Namboole Stadium, The Inter-Party Cooperation and its flagbearer Dr. Kizza Besigye have announced that they will be holding a press conference beginning at 2pm local time.There are no indications what the presidential candidate will announce during the press conference.
Many fear that the opposition candidate will call for mass demonstrations to protest the process which Besigye called “corrupt” in his press conference yesterday. Such an announcement could lead to mass arrests as the government has stated that any public desturbances will be met by force.
The army and the police are deployed throughout the city and they remain heavily armed. Most observers agree though that the atmosphere for a Tunisia, Egypt or now Bahrain-like movement is unlikely.
According to the latest preliminary results, Museveni leads with 68 percent with Besigye receiving 26 percent of the vote.
by Ole Tangen Jr.
For the third time, incumbent Yoweri Museveni’s main rival, Dr. Kizze Besigye, has alleged massive rigging during the presidential elections that occurred on Friday.
Besigye, who during the campaigns had threatened to call mass protests if the election is rigged, alluded to “people power” like in Tunisia and Egypt as the only option left to end what he termed as Museveni dictatorial rule.
Provision results announced by the Electoral Commission (EC) at 4.30pm showed Museveni leading with 2.9 million votes. Besigye was a trailing behind him with 900,000 votes. Full results are expected late to night.
Besigye said there was massive rigging through vote-buying, stuffing of ballot boxes with pre-ticked ballots, intimidation of voters and opposition polling agents were forced out of polling stations.
“What we’ve seen is not credible. It’s now clear the will of the people can’t be expressed through an election in this corrupt system,” he said. “The people are sovereign. They have the ultimate power.”
Besigye who vied on the Inter-Party Cooperation ticket, a coalition of four parties that came together to field as their presidential candidates, joined Olara Otuunu, another presidential candidate who earlier in the day described the election as “a sham” and rejected the result.
He cited the deployment of hundreds of soldiers and police into streets as a deliberate effort to instil fear and intimidate voters.
“Everyone with ears will have heard the jet fighters and military helicopters hovering overhead. Local council officials and security agents have been threatening people with war if Museveni does not win this election,” Besigye said at a press conference at the Forum for Democratic Change party offices.
He said polling stations opened late in opposition strongholds, including Kampala, saying “it happened in such a widespread fashion in order to suppress voter turn out where the opposition stood to win.”
Besigye said he is set to meet officials of the coalition (IPC) tomorrow (Sunday) morning, where the next course of action will be decided; adding he will not go to court since the judiciary “is a victim of the same corrupt and repressive environment.”
Uganda opposition started protesting even before the election for Uganda’s presidential poll was announced, describing the exercising in which incumbent Yoweri Museveni is seeking to extend his 25 year rule to 30 years as a sham.
Otuunu, who described the election as a sham and rejected it results, said the country was ripe for Tunisia and Egyptian-like protests that ousted Presidents Ben Ali and Hosin Barrack respectively.
“The election was a sham with absolutely no meaning. Like we have said before, it was not free and fair characterized by fraud and malpractices” Dr Otuunu told a news conference a day after polling on Saturday.
“It is up to Ugandans to chose whether they will submit to Museveni’s subjugation and political slavery in which the country is governed to his term or not and rise up to be governed to their terms. Under natural law and the constitution Ugandans will be exercising their rights to protest like it was in Tunisia and Egypt,” said Otuunu.
On the eve of the polls, President Museveni warned Ugandans not to engage in any acts of demonstration saying “the Tunisia and Egypt like popular protests can’t happen in Uganda.”
Asked what will done if it happened, Museveni told journalists that “we will round them up and lock them up in the most humane way.”
Hundreds of soldiers and police officers have been deployed in Kampala, where they are conducting patrols day and night. Key opposition figures have said the soldiers were intimidating voters.
There were some reported incidences of violence and rigging during yesterday’s elections. The Red Cross said two people were killed and dozens others injured as rival groups clashed, but police denied knowledge of the incidents.
Army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Felix Kulayigye said police had requested help to keep the peace. However, soldiers did not go near polling centres.
“As you know, there’s the threat of terrorism. And when night comes, you can’t know what can happen,” he told reporters.
Turning the attention from the presidential election results, many big heads have rolled in the parliamentary elections for both the ruling NRM and the opposition parties.
The biggest names so far in the NRM is the minister and state minister the ICT ministry. Minister Aggrey Awori has lost as well as his state minister, Alintuma Nsambu. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Isaac Musumba has also lost. Minister for Gender Gabriel Opio, whose ministry brought about the controversial Cultural Leaders’ Bill, has lost as well as Minister for Internal Affairs Kirunda Kivejinja. The Minister for the Presidency Dorothy Hyuha has lost to the young and vibrant Serena Nebanda.
Minister of Education Namirembe Bitamazire has lost as well as Minister Beatrice Wabudeya.
On the side of the opposition, the leader of the opposition in parliament Prof. Ogenga Latigo has lost. Susan Nampijja who stood in Makindye West leaving room for her father Ken Lukyamuzi to stand in Rubaga South, has lost. However, Lukyamuzi has triumphed in Rubaga South.
The biggest surprise in Kampala has come from Rubaga North where the little-known Moses Kasibante has trounced the NRM flag-bearer Katongole Singh. Most commentators were of the view that this constituency was a done deal for Katongole, but it has turned out otherwise.
On the other hand, Amelia Kyambadde has won in Mawokota North defeating her fellow NRM stalwart Clavier Mutuluuza. This was a hotly contested constituency whereby some sections of State House were supporting Mutuluuza who stood as an independent after losing the NRM primaries to Kyambadde, the former Principal Presidential Secretary to President Museveni.
FDC spokesman Wafula Oguttu and FDC Finance Secretary Jack Sabiiti have both made it to parliament. The former Mengo ministers Matthias Mpuuga and Medard Ssegona have also won in their respective constituencies.
by Edward Ronald Sekyewa
After the fourth round of the preliminary results, incumbent President Yoweri Museveni is leading all other candidates with 71 percent of the vote. His closest challenger, Dr. Kizza Besigye is trailing with only 23 percent of the vote. If the trend continues, Uganda will remain under the rule of Museveni for his firth term.
Counting is continuing at the national tallying center at Namboole Stadium. If everything proceeds as planned, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission Badru Kiggundu could be announcing the final tally by the end of Saturday.
In the many races for parliament, numerous NRM ministers have lost including State Minister for Tourism Sarapio Rukundo and State Minister for Trade Gaggawala Wambuzi. In a surprising twist, Speaker Edward Ssekandi was declared the loser only to later be declared the winner after a recount. Some observers are predicting that the results from many close races will be challenged in court.
There is heavy military deployment throughout Kampala and much of the city centre remains deserted. Authorities have warned any opposition persons from attempting to protest the final results. The president has declared that anyone hitting the streets in protest will be arrested. Most shops and restaurants remain closed and people seem to be remaining at home and in doors.
Now that the polling exercise has ended, results are announced by the presiding officer at each polling station in the presence of the different candidates’ representatives.
There after the results are sent to the district headquarters from where they are sent to the Electoral Commission which makes the final results as stipulated by the law within 48 hours from the Election Day.
All results will be sent to the central tallying centre at Namboole Stadium outside of Kampala. Most experts do not expect any announcements to be made tomorrow. However we can expect a full announcement by Electoral Commission Chairman Badru Kigundu on Sunday.
The opposition IPC, with its candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye, has organized its won polling mechanism and there are some indications that they will attempt to release their own results, something the EC has cautioned against.
How exactly this voting exercise ends is remains to be seen. If the Ugandan people perceive the election as being free and fair, then the result with stand. But if there are too many questions and accusations, it remains unclear how the Ugandan people will react.