Police Deploy Heavily to Protect Mbuya Barracks Polling Stations

Comments 1490 Views Kampala, Uganda
A heavy deployment of anti-riot police has surrounded a polling station just outside Mbuya army barracks in Kampala because of a scuffle earlier today. Shortly after 9:00 a.m., about 20 Democratic Party members, led by party's deputy spokesperson Kenneth Kakande, stormed Mbuya Church of Uganda Primary School polling station. They claimed that there was evidence of rigging at the polling station. According to the DP members, some soldiers from Mbuya barracks were being allowed to vote without verification that their names are on the national voters' register. They added that an unidentified woman driving a dark blue Toyota Hilux double cabin pickup truck was ferrying non-registered voters to the polling station. The complaints from the DP team grew when a man, who identified himself as Richard Okello, attempted to vote. It was evident that the Richard Okello pictured on the register was very different from the one before the polling officials. When Okello was asked to identify his age, he said he was born in 1971. The man pictured on the register is listed as born in 1979. Kenneth Kakande and his DP friends ordered the presiding officer to explain the anomaly and to arrest Okello. When she failed to do so, a scuffle broke out. Calm was only restored with the intervention of two UPDF soldiers wearing election security tags. The soldiers - Major Wanuka and Lieutenant Kakeeto - said they would hold Richard Okello in custody until his case is resolved. The Jinja Road police commander, Dennis Kamugisha, arrived on the scene shortly thereafter. He ordered Kakande, his parliamentary rival from FDC Michael Kabaziguruka, the DP Nakawa division candidate Amis Bireke-Kaggwa and the rest of the group to wait across the road and to observe the elections from an acceptable distance. Kenneth Kakande, who lost the Nakawa parliamentary election two weeks ago, says he learned from his electoral experience that voting around Mbuya army barracks was severely flawed. He says there is need to stay at the site all day to prevent rigging. Amis Bireke-Kaggwa, the DP Nakawa candidate, says he has lost hope in what he called a "bogus" electoral process. He accuses the police of taking sides and are allowing open cheating. Bireke-Kaggwa says that considering the smooth campaign period, he expected a smooth end to the elections. He says that despite the flawed process, he is confident of victory. Bireke-Kaggwa is contesting against the incumbent Protasio Kintu for the Nakawa LC3 chair. Others in the race are Ben Kalumba of the NRM, Ronald Balimwezo of the Social Democratic Party, Mohammed Bombokka of the Farmers' Party of Uganda, Steven Osako of FDC and independent candidate Robert Asiimwe. Mohammed Bombokka is the only candidate of the Farmers' Party of Uganda in the municipal and city elections. ###