Late Delivery Of Materials As Voting Starts

1661 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Voting was slated to start at 7am but by 7:30am the exercise had not yet started at most polling stations Uganda Radio Network reporters visited.

Late delivery of polling materials is being reported in different parts of the country as the 2016 elections get under-way.

Voting was slated to start at 7am but by 7:30am the exercise had not yet started at most of the polling stations Uganda Radio Network reporters visited.

In Entebbe Municipality in Wakiso district, voting was yet to start when a URN reporter visited different polling stations at 7:15am. At St. Joseph Katabi primary school polling station, hundreds of voters queued up waiting patiently for the polling officials and the delivery of voting materials. This was the same situation at Entebbe Mayor's Garden, Katabi Sub County and Nakiwogo polling stations.

The voting materials arrived 15 minutes late from the official opening of the polling exercise. Some of the voters who spoke to URN wondered how a crucial area like Entebbe Municipality could have poor distribution of voter material. Jonathan Wamala, a polling agent for Democratic Party, wondered why polling had not started by 7am as stipulated by law. 

He said while he is giving Electoral Commission the benefit of doubt, he hopes it isn't a ploy to discourage early voting. 

In Wakiso Town Council, there has been late delivery of election materials. Queues were already forming by 7:30am as voters waited for the exercise to start. It was the same story in Kabale Municipality, Kabale district. At some polling stations there was no sign of voting by 7:30am when our reporter visited the area. 

Juma Adam, the Kabale district returning officer, says the challenge was from the centre, noting that Kampala delivered election materials past midnight. There is also a transport problem in Kabale, where officials are given 10,000 Uganda shillings to transport materials from the sub counties to the polling stations. Some of the materials are being transported on bicycles for a distance of about eight kilometers. 

Some of the affected sub counties include Kyanamira, Kitumba, Kabale central division, northern division and southern division. In Masaka Municipality, our reporter visited four polling stations where voters were still waiting for election materials 30 minutes after the official time for opening the polls. The affected polling stations include Bata Cell A and B, and Town Yard A and B. Moses Kafeero, the presiding officer at Bata Cell A said they were waiting for the arrival of materials.

The materials were kept at Electoral Commission offices in Kirumba, Katwe Butego Division. Nathan Nabasa, the Masaka district returning officer, says they were busy sorting polling materials for rural sub counties. In Sembabule district, polling was yet to start by 7:15am. Latif Ngonzi, the district returning officer, says they are still sending materials to different polling stations. 

In Gulu Municipality, voting had not yet started by 7:15am when our reporter visited different polling stations in the town. In Kampala Central Business district, voting also delayed to kick off at various polling stations because of late delivery of voting materials. 

Margaret  Nabatanzi, the presiding Officer at City House LC I polling station, said voters arrived at the polling station as early as 6am, but the polling materials hadn't arrived by 7am. Our reporter found the polling officials still organizing the area.  According to the polling officials, the parish supervisor, who was in charge of delivering the materials, was also yet to show up.

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URN also visited Nakasero 2A, Nakasero 2B, Nakasero 2-A-L and Nakasero 2 M-z polling stations, but the voting materials hadn't yet arrived by 7am. The materials arrived at 7:30am. Nicholas Lugemwa, the presiding officer Nakasero 2A-L Polling station, told URN the polling exercise would delay to kick off because of delayed delivery of voting materials.

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Charles Mbodhe, the FDC party agent at Nakasero 2 M-Z, expressed concern over the delayed delivery of the polling materials. He is also worried about the space at the polling station, which he said was too small. 

Joseph Olupot, the supervisor for polling stations in Nakasero admitted the problem of space at the polling stations in the area, saying they are too squeezed. At Railway Primary School, people were already in the queue as early as 7am but the materials were yet to arrive. 

The situation is the same at Bat Valley primary school polling, Old Kampala Secondary School polling station and Martin Road Mango Tree polling station. At Martin Road, hundreds are stranded and there was no sign of voting by 8am.  At least 15 million Ugandans go to the polls today to elect a president and Members of Parliament. Voting will end at 4pm.