Hoima, Uganda | URN | Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party is disputing declared results of the just concluded Hoima Woman MP by-election.
The election was held on Thursday last week and Harriet Mugenyi Businge, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) flag bearer was declared winner by the Electoral Commission after she garnered 33,301 votes. FDC’s Asinansi Nyakato garnered 28,789 votes in the hotly contested election.
According to Nyakato, the election was marred by gross voter bribery, brutal arrests, detention of her supporters, agents and supervisors, intimidation, ballot stuffing and vote-rigging by NRM officials and some security operatives. Nyakato says she has all the evidence pining some top security operatives and the NRM officials while they were indulging in the illegal acts during the election.
Speaking on Saturday morning, Nyakato says she is not contented with the election results saying she is going to court to seek for justice. She says following the irregularities that characterized the election, what they thought could be free and fair election became impossible.
Nyakato says she would seek a court order to annul the election results and also to recount all the votes cast. She however does not mention when she will file her election petition.
“As a candidate, Nyakato Asinansi, I am not contented with the results because of what has been transpiring. We have been running against those who have stuffed ballot boxes in government vehicles, in State House vehicles, in the RDC’s vehicle. Most of our people were arrested, our agents were arrested and detained, the supervisors were arrested and detained and up to now, they are at police. And, what we see at police stations, it is the military which has taken over the police. All the officers whom we know are in charge of those desks are not there,” said Nyakato.
She described herself as the duly elected Hoima Woman MP whereas Businge, who was declared winner by the Electoral Commission as the ‘state MP’.
“The win which came out [on Friday morning] was a state win. It was not a people’s win because in the ballot boxes our people supported us overwhelmingly. We won. What I can say is am the people’s MP for Hoima and the other one is the state MP,” Nyakato added.
Hoima FDC acting chairperson Jenepher Karungi says the election was characterized by a lot of irregularities and therefore they cannot allow such gross anomalies to happen, saying they are ready to face off with NRM in court. She calls on their supporters to be strong, remain calm and continue to support the party saying victory belongs to them.
“For me honestly, I am not happy with the results, and what I can advise my people’s MP Nyakato Asinansi is to go to court because we cannot just accept just like that. If we just accept, they [people] will accept that maybe that is the true or right result. So for us, we’re going to court,” Karungi said.
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Harold Kaija, the FDC deputy secretary-general says the election was rigged at gunpoint – saying the heavy deployment of the military during and after the election is a clear manifestation that people did not have their own freedom as they went to vote.
He says the heavy military deployment forced some of their supporters to abandon voting since they feared to be arrested for supporting FDC. Kaija says they will first look at the implication before challenging the election results.
However, Simon Byabakama, the Electoral Commission chairperson says the election went on smoothly adding that this was the first free and fair election he has ever witnessed and supervised.
“It was a very peaceful process for those of us who have been moving around the district, visiting various polling stations you would even think it is not a polling day. We thank the people of Hoima for having heeded our call to ensure that peace, the stability that prevailed… and we pray that the same continues up to 2021,” said Babakama.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson says FDC supporters who were arrested wanted to cause chaos during and after the election.