Lawrence Jjumba, the polling agent of the Bukomansimbi National Unity Platform-NUP LC V Chairperson candidate’s race at Meeru polling station, says soldiers raided the polling station and forced the presiding officer to handover three ballot paper booklets, which they ticked in favour of NRM candidates and stuffed them in the boxes.
Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF
soldiers are under the spotlight for meddling in the just concluded local
government elections in Bukomansimbi district. Residents accuse soldiers of
disrupting the election to favour National Resistance Movement-NRM candidates.
According to residents, armed soldiers
raided polling stations in different parts of Bukomansimbi where they openly
engaged in electoral malpractices. Some of the affected polling stations
include Meeru, Kabojja, Kyakamunya and Mbaale- Kasansula in Butenga Sub County.
According to some of the residents, the armed soldier raided the polling
stations midway the polls and started stuffing ballots.
Lawrence Jjumba, the polling agent of the Bukomansimbi
National Unity Platform-NUP LC V Chairperson candidate’s race at Meeru polling
station, says soldiers raided the polling station and forced the presiding
officer to handover three ballot paper booklets, which they ticked in favour of NRM
candidates and stuffed them in the boxes.
“The soldiers took advantage of the low voter turn-up to accomplish their evil
mission with little public interference. They forcefully stuffed all the
pre-ticked ballots into the boxes thereby messing up the whole exercise,” he said.
Jjumba says the malpractice enraged voters who were watching everything from a
distance prompting them to rise up in protest.
The standoff prompted antiriot police personnel from Bukomansimbi Central
Police Station to intervene and accordingly withdraw polling materials from the
affected polling stations. Henry Ggaliwango, another agent at
Mbaale-Kasansula polling station narrates the acts of the soldiers threw the presiding
officers and polling assistants in panic and allowed them to accomplish their
Katumba Waswa, the National Unity Platform-NUP campaign coordinator and
election monitor for Meeru parish in Butenga Sub County, says they notified the
District Returning Officer about the irregularities and asked her to disregard results
from the four polling stations.
“We are asking the Electoral Commission to
only consider four out of the eight polling stations in the parish,” he said. Ester Asiimwe, the Bukomansimbi District Returning Officer says that he
is waiting for an investigations report from Police that was called when the scuffle erupted at the affected polling stations. She, however, indicates that
the reported inconsistencies could not substantially affect the final election
Maj. Flavia Mulindwa Terimulungi, the Spokesperson of the UPDF Armored Brigade
Kasijjagirwa in Masaka district said they will investigate the reports and
establish the truth about it. Similar incidents of armed soldiers running away
with polling materials were reported at Bigasa playground polling station in
Bigasa Sub County in Bukomansimbi District.