The absence of the secure boxes prompted polling officials to carry voters rolls in Khaki envelops to and from the polling stations. In Gulu municipality, some polling officials were seen improvising envelops for collecting back the voter slips bearing the seal of Electoral Commission that had issued to the voters.
Voters Form Winding Qeue In Layibi Go Down In Gulu Municipality
The Electoral Commission has been criticized for failing to deploy ballot collection kits at polling stations to facilitate the collections of voter slips and the registers used in the lower local council elections.
The absence of the secure boxes prompted polling officials to carry voter's rolls in Khaki envelops to and from the polling stations. In Gulu municipality, some polling officials were seen improvising envelops for collecting back the voter slips bearing the seal of Electoral Commission that had issued to the voters.
Some of them used plain papers plucked from exercise books to store the used voter slips. The improvised envelops were marked with the names of the different candidates who participated in the exercise.
Martin Openytoo, a resident of Layibi Go Down said it was ugly to see polling officials struggling to enclose the used voter slips in their palms. He said it was hard to guarantee transparency since some of the slips were collected in pockets of polling officials.
"How do we guarantee the safety of the coupons in the event that a candidate is aggrieved? I had expected the Electoral Commission to deploy the ballot boxes at each polling station at least for the purposes of carrying the polling materials only," he stated.
At Layibi Go Down polling station - Railway polling Station, the Electoral Commission officials who aborted the process prematurely escaped under Police protection with voter slips and registers dangling in their hands as angry residents threatened them with lynching.
Kelly Komakech, the Forum for Democratic Change party mobiliser for Northern Uganda says the elections have exposed the integrity of the commission in organizing elections. He says without securing voter slips, results can easily be manipulated in contested areas.
Michael Latigo, the independent candidate who lost to incumbent National Resistance Movement-NRM party candidate Denis Acellam with A 20 vote margin at Railway Station Polling Station is seeking to challenge the results.
Latigo told URN that he wants all voter slips audited against the ticked names in the voter register to ensure that the process has been free and fair.
Benson Obete, the Gulu District Returning Officer says the meagre budget allocated to the Electoral Commission could not take care of facilitating the deployment of the few ballot boxes in each of the 60,800 gazetted electoral villages in the country.
According to Obete, there was no need to deploy the ballot boxes since the mode of the election was by lining up. Besides, he adds, the ballot boxes were too few and too costly to deploy at each polling station.
During the election, voters were verified using their national identity cards and issued voter slips with which they stood within long lines. The slips were then collected after the voters had been physically counted. The counted voters were then told to sit down in their queues until all the voters had been counted and entered in declaration forms.