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Court Stops Kalungu East Vote Recount

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The Chief Magistrate, Charles Yeitesi, who had issued a vote recount order on Monday declined to continue with the exercise after it emerged that the seal on one of the ballot boxes delivered in court was broken.
..The Electoral Commission Black Boxes for Kalungu East Constutuency whose recount application was thrown out by Masaka Chief Magistrates Court

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Masaka Chief Magistrate’s Court has thrown a vote recount application for the Kalungu East parliamentary election filed by the incumbent legislator and Agriculture Minister, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja.

The Chief magistrate, Charles Yeitesi, who had issued a vote recount order on Monday declined to continue with the exercise after it emerged that the seal on one of the ballot boxes delivered in court was broken.    

Yeitesi had issued the vote recount order following claims by Ssempijja that he was robbed of his victory and handed to his National Unity Platform-NUP rival, Francis Katabaazi Katongole.  Ssempijja polled 10,865 votes against his rival’s 12,198 votes.

He, however, alleged in his petition that the vote tallying was marred with numerical errors in favour of his opponent. Through his lawyers led by Ntambirweki Kandeebe, Ssempijja also alleged many of his polling agents were not allowed to witness the vote counting exercise, arguing that some of his votes could have been interchanged and given to his opponent.    

He also told the court that he had received reports from his agents and supporters indicating that some Presiding Officers did not tally his results correctly at polling stations, which necessitated a vote recount to correct the anomalies that cost him victory. 



Katabaazi through his lawyers led by John Chrysostom Katumba raised objection to the vote recount order and also filed an appeal in High Court. They also applied for an interim order for stay of the vote recount in vain.  As a result, on Tuesday morning, Ann Namatovu, the Kalungu District Returning Officer delivered 36 ballots boxes before the Chief Magistrate’s court for a vote recount.

However, as the magistrate embarked on the vote recount exercise, it was discovered that one of the ballot boxes had a broken seal, an indication that it was tampered with before delivery. Besides the broken seal, the court also observed glaring variations between the orange and pink seals used on the ballot boxes raising more suspicion on their integrity.

The returning officer tried to explain the variations, but Yeitesi decided to stop the recount on grounds that he was not of the integrity of the results. Katabaazi told journalists outside court that he was destined for a second victory in court after defeating the Minister in a democratic process.

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Cue out; ….discover them.”//    

Luganda Audio

//Cue in: “ababbi n’ebanika….    

Cue out; …..w’amanyi.”//      

Ssempijja declined to comment about the court verdict, but his lead lawyer Kandeebe said they will consult on their next course of action.