Observers Commend EC on Kamuli By-election

2604 Views Kamuli, Uganda

In short
Crispy Kaheru, the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda - CCEDU Coordinator, says that save for the few cases of violence, the EC did a commendable job. He however tasks law makers to come up with laws that can guard against voter bribery.

Election observers have commended the new Electoral Commission team for conducting what they call a relatively peaceful by-election in Kamuli Municipality.

Rehema Watongola reclaimed her Kamuli Municipality Parliamentary seat after beating four other candidates including Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) flag-bearer, Proscovia Salaamu Musumba.

Watongola, a member of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), polled 8,726 according to the results released on Wednesday evening at Kamuli Youth Centre by the Kamuli district returning officer, Gracious Aryaija. 

Watongola beat her main rival, FDC's Salaamu Musumba with a margin of close to three thousand votes. Musumba, whose petition challenging Watongola's victory in February 2016 was the reason for the by-election, garnered 5,778 votes.

Musumba had earlier on Wednesday told the media that the new Electoral Commission team was weak. She claimed that police was aiding the NRM candidate to bribe voters.

But John Mary Odoi, one of the observers said that the new EC team has delivered what it promised when appointed. He noted that the voting materials arrived at polling stations on time and voting also ended on time.

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Crispy Kaheru, the Citizen's Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda - CCEDU Coordinator, says that save for the few cases of violence, the EC did a commendable job. He however tasks law makers to come up with laws that can guard against voter bribery.

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Busoga North police spokesperson Moses Kasadha also dismisses Musumba's claims saying her team makes the same about police.

"Police is only interested in having a peaceful election. We don't mind what the candidates allege," he said. He added that over 30 people were arrested for alleged malicious damage to property and voter intimidation.

Some of the suspects included three men who were driving Musumba's Land Cruiser  registration number UAQ 286M to intimidate voters. Kasadha noted that police recovered items such as bows and arrows, catapults, army boots, alcoholic drinks and two knives from the vehicle.

He noted that the occupants of the vehicle attacked voters and vandalised a police van. 

Accordingly police opened a case against Musumba for damage of government property. A Special Police Constable Jacob Waiswa was rushed to Kamuli Mission Hospital after he was stoned.

Musumba went to police to report that some of her camp members were missing only to be told  that police had also filed  a case against her for malicious damage to property. She was cautioned and advised to talk to her camp.

Musumba noted that she was not sure of her next step after her loss.

 

About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).