Polling Officials Threaten to Boycott Elections

2086 Views Arua, Uganda

In short
Geoffrey Drani, one of the affected presiding officers, says during their recruitment, Electoral Commission promised to pay them Shillings 60,000 and polling assistants Shillings 40,000 . He however, says they were shocked this morning to receive appointment letters showing that they will receive Shillings 20, 000 each day.

170 polling officials in River Oli Division in Arua district are threatening to boycott work tomorrow unless Electoral Commission increases their allowances. They include polling assistants and presiding officers.
 
 
Geoffrey Drani, one of the affected presiding officers, says during their recruitment, Electoral Commission promised to pay them Shillings 60,000 and polling assistants Shillings 40,000 .
 
 
He however, says they were shocked this morning to receive appointment letters showing that they will receive Shillings 20, 000 each day.  According to Drani, as a result, they have declined to sign the appointment letters until Electoral Commission increases the money.  
 
//Cue in: "After the training"
Cue out… "An acceptable offer"//
 
Ismail Kombozi, the polling assistant for Diro polling station, says they will not handle the polls unless the money is increased.
 
//Cue in: "This is an issue….
Cue out…Ugandans to vote"//
 
But Michael Arinaitwe, the Arua deputy district registrar, says presiding officers will receive Shillings 40,000 while the polling assistants will receive Shillings 20,000 as agreed during their recruitment and training. He says Electoral Commission will not offer the polling officials breakfast, lunch and transport. 
 
In a similar development, at least 60 people in Kaliro district have turned down their appointment by Electoral Commission to act as polling officials citing little pay. The 60 are part of the 288 people who were interviewed by Electoral Commission to conduct polls in Bulamogi North West constituency in Kaliro district.

 
The group told Godfrey Sebaki, an Electoral Commission official at Nawaikoke primary school in Nawaikoke sub-county this morning that they couldn't take the appointment letters because the Shillings 20, 000 that the Commission plans to pay them is insufficient.

 
They said the money is too little given the high transport cost, and risks they encounter during the election exercise. They asked the Commission to consider increasing the money to Shillings 50,000. Esther Asiimwe, the Kaliro District Returning officer, says although she has not yet received official communication from the affected polling officials, there is no cause for alarm.

 
According to Asiimwe, they have some people on standby to step in and take up the positions left by those complaining about the money.