Manafwa Residents Boycott Electoral Commission Meeting

2497 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
Residents of Manafwa have boycotted a meeting organized by the Electoral Commission (EC) to discuss strategies to better conduct the Bubulo West by-election.

Residents of Manafwa have boycotted a meeting organized by the Electoral Commission (EC) to discuss strategies to better conduct the Bubulo West by-election.
 
The meeting chaired by EC Chairman Eng. Dr. Badru Kiggundu on Friday, was attended by less than 50 people. Several stakeholders including religious leaders, the security personnel, voters, aspiring candidates, local leaders and opinion leaders among others were invited.
 
Only one aspiring candidate, the Democratic Party flag bearer Paul Butiti among the more than 15 aspirants attended the meeting.
 
The development stunned Dr Kiggundu who was accompanied by the Commission legal team and other election officials among others from the headquarters.
 
Martin Mutambu, the LC III chairman Buwagogo sub county, blames the boycott on the Manafwa District Registrar whom he accused of incompetence and lacking integrity. He claims that most residents in the district have totally lost trust in the EC activities in the district because of the manner in which the registrar Edward Kizindo conducts himself.
 
Mutambu accused Kizindo of failing to execute the commission’s activities as per the required guidelines. He cited the recent recruitment of the parish election supervisors which he claims the registrar only recruited his relatives and friends something he said has angered many residents.
 
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Another resident, Godfrey Sam Wambuya accuses the registrar of always not being in office. He says most times whenever they visit the commission’s office in Manfawa they only find the secretary who cannot address the issues.
 
Samuel Wabulakha, the retired Bishop of Mbale Diocese expresses concern in the manner that elections under the current commission are conducted. He cited a situation where voters are intimidated by state machinery yet they are left to go undisciplined. He says this compromises democracy something he says has made most residents to lose trust in the commission.
 
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Dr Kiggundu however assures the public that EC is committed to ensuring a free and fair election. He says the commission will involve all stakeholders in its processes of the by-election to ensure transparency.
 
So far 17 people have expressed interest to vie for the seat.
 
The Bubulo West seat fell vacant after parliament dismissed Tony Kipoi Nsubuga, the incumbent Member of Parliament for absconding from his parliamentary duties.
 
Electoral Commission has set Monday and Tuesday March 24th and 25th respectively for nominations of candidates.
 
The election will be held on April 10th.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.