A common thread from responses of people who never voted, and community leaders in areas that had a low voter turnout are panic that there was going to violence after the election, which prompted people to run to their countryside homes and belief that elections cannot result in change.
Perennially, Kampala has had a low voter turnout. In the January 2021 presidential election, it
had a 43 per cent voter turnout. In 2016, it polled 51.48 per cent, 41.52 per cent
in 2011, 58.7 per cent in 2006. It is only in 2001 when Kampala registered a
voter turnout of 71 per cent, just above the national average of 69 per cent.
A common thread from responses of people who never voted, and
community leaders in areas that had a low voter turnout are panic that there was
going to violence after the election, which prompted people to run to their
countryside homes and belief that elections cannot result in change.
Other voters say they never wanted to spend their money travelling
to polling stations when they found that their polling stations had been moved
to distant places. And particularly in Naguru parish which had a string of polling
stations with less than 20 per cent voter turnout, voters of these polling
stations live within or adjacent to the police barracks. Local leaders say
police officers could not vote when they were on duty while others had been
URN reporters visited 30
polling stations and interviewed more than 45 people. Julius
Mwanje, a father of two and a resident of Lungujja, says he shunned voting after
hearing Deputy IGP, Paul Lokech telling Ugandans to strictly vote and go home.
Mwanje claims this directive triggered a sense of fear, making him believe that
there was going to be violence on polling day if people refused to adhere to
in; Baagenda nebagamba nti…
out… asigadde ewaka’ basinga.”//
Zahara Issa, a resident of Kabowa, says she travelled out of the city to
Mbarara to avoid being caught in possible violence after elections. She says she
was surprised that there was no violence at all. “I was
surprised that the election period was peaceful but also I don’t regret not
voting because democracy has not yet been established in this country,” said
worth their money.
Annet Nabulime and Doreen Kamuhairwe, both residents of Nabulagala
in Lubaga North say they didn’t have transport to go to vote from their home
village in Busega where they are registered voters.
in; Ensonga eyangaana okulonda…
out... eyangaanisa okulonda.”//
Nalumu,22, and Faith Nabukwasi, 24, both students from Makerere University said
they were supposed to vote from Mary Stewart Hall in Makerere but the distance from their
residence in Ndeeba to Makerere was far and decided to quit voting.
in; Nze ntekemu...
out…have been ok.” //
Namuyanja, a mother of seven children residing in Bakuli says frustration from
the 2016 election results made her avoid participating in January 2021
election.“I voted amidst violence by security teams and unfortunately, even
the candidates that I voted did not go through,” said Namuyanja. She said that
she couldn’t bother voting again.
Moses Kagowa, the Vice-Chairperson of Church Area Naguru II Parish
says there are many Indians who did not show up yet they are registered voters.
This, he says could be the reason why there was an extremely low voter turn up in
the area. Only 74 of 234 registered voters turned up for voting which is 31 per cent voter turnout.
//Cue in; “Ensonga eyokubiri…
Cue out…naye tebagaala kulonda.”//
At Shell Ground which had four Polling Stations in Naguru II
Parish, no polling station had above 16 per cent voter turnout, the lowest in
Kampala. Godfrey Eyang, the Chairperson of Ntinda Police Barracks
who voted from Shell Ground polling stations, named a number of issues
including the transfer of families and early security deployments for those who are
registered voters at these polling stations caused low voter turnout.
//Cue in; “Eventually, you find…
Cue out…one thousand seven hundred.”//
Henry Mugisha, a registered voter at Shell Ground (BI-LE), living
in the barracks says he failed to vote due to lack of time. “Army barracks should
have special arrangements since soldiers are always busy on duty on voting
day,” Mugisha said.
Moses Bwambale, also a registered voter in Naguru Parish II said
with his family, they remained home because they feared the heavy deployments.
He thought there would be violence if people disagreed with one another at polling
Bukenya, the chairman of Kifumbira zone in Kamwokya, where Homisdallen Primary
School polling station is situated, that had 868 total registered voters with
35 per cent voter turnout, attributed the low turnout on the heavy deployment prior the
elections. Like many interviewed, he also claims that many people ended up
going to the village before the polling day out of fear.
“Bagenda okulaba ng’embeera…
Mukwana, Chairman for Nsambya - Kitawuluzi zone blames the low voter turnout
on people who work, but do not stay in the zone, but then registered to vote.