Bribery, Ballot Staffing Allegations In Masaka

2868 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
Joy Kalula Kabatsi, the independent candidate in Sembabule district woman MP race says was surpirzed by the degree of rigging with impunity. She says she tried to intervene but the heavily armed soldiers threatened violence against her.

The counting of votes has started in all polling stations in greater Masaka region after an election marred by allegations of bribery, ballot staffing, intimidation and violence.

In Masaka municipality, voting ended at exactly 4pm despite the fact it started two hours late. In Kyamuswa county, Kalangala district, election started at 2pm because of rough waters that hampered early transportation of election materials.

Emmanuel Masiko, the Kalangala district returning officer says they could not make it to Kyamuswa county because when they tried their lives were threatened by strong wings.

In Sembabule district, polling was stopped after clashes allegedly between UPDF soldiers and residents. It all started at Kidandali polling station in  Lugusulu sub county when a  group of about ten UPDF soldiers stormed it, beating up polling officials before staffing in ticked ballots.

The decision by UPDF soldiers to chase away polling officials angered residents in the line including Joy Kafula Kabatsi, the Independent candidate for Sembabule Woman MP race.

Joy Kalula Kabatsi, the independent candidate in Sembabule district woman MP race says she was surprised by the degree of rigging. Kabatsi said she tried to intervene but the heavily armed soldiers threatened violence against her.
In Lwemiyaga, Patrick Nkalubo, the Independent candidate in the area was arrested by some supporters with pre-ticked ballot papers. They took him to Lwemiyaga police post but was released without a charge, according to MP Theodore Ssekikubo.

Kabatsi says she has reported the incident to both at police and electoral commission.
Latiff Ngonzi, the Sembabule district returning officer says he has not yet received any report regarding the incident.

In Masaka municipality, Mathias Mpuuga, the DP candidate accuses soldiers from Masaka armoured brigade of intimidating people at Ssazza and Kasijagirwa area.

He claims that soldiers were involved in ballot staffing and bribery of voters. Mpuuga claims the soldiers were allegedly staffing for his rival Herman Ssentongo, the NRM candidate with impunity. He says they have documented all these anomalies.

// Cue in: "You can see…
Cue out: ….this is unfortunate."//

But Herman Ssentongo, the NRM candidate has denied the allegations. He simply said he does not have time to waste talking about such. Maj. Robert Kamara, the Masaka armoured Brigade spokesperson has denied the allegations. He says whoever has evidence let him present it.
Musa Wamala, an election Observer with Transparency International Uganda says the polling constable blocked some voters from lining up as soon as it clocked 4pm.

There was a brief scuffle at Market Cell polling station located within Lions Nursery school in Masaka municipality but police swung into action and stopped it.

The presiding officer who refused to identify himself said he was ordered by Nathan Nabaasa, the Masaka returning officer.

Nathan Nabaasa, the Masaka returning officer says they only extended polls to special areas. By 8pm counting had started.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.