The rains started a few minutes after 4 p.m. as stations closed the exercise, which was rather poorly attended. Polling officials in Nakawa and Makindye rushed to secure the ballot boxes in nearby shelters, from the open space where polling was conducted, all day long.
Polling officials at Kitebi Primary School seek shelter during the evening rains
Heavy rains have disrupted vote-counting in polling
stations located in open fields, within Kampala.
The rains started a few minutes after 4 p.m. as stations closed the exercise, which was rather poorly attended. Polling officials in Nakawa and Makindye rushed to secure
the ballot boxes in nearby shelters, from the open space where polling was conducted, all day long.
At Kisaasi Muslim Secondary School where five polling stations are
hosted, counting was interrupted as the polling officials transferred to
from the open fields, while counting was suspended for more than 30
minutes at Batalanzi’s building
polling station which is located in Kasaana parish, Kulambiro.
At Kyanja view primary school, where vote counting had started
taking place the voters and officials fled to the school building, leaving them
congested. Many polling stations that were located near shops
huddled together in the shops with the ballot boxes. At several polling
stations, there was military and police deployment to protect the ballot boxes.
At St Mbaaga Polling station in Kiwatule, hundreds of voters
were packed in the only empty school facilities including the kitchen in a bid to
witness the counting. By 6 p.m, several polling stations were still counting votes.
Ahmed Ndaula, a Polling Assistant at the area says that the rain saw many of the voters run away for
shelter. “As you can see there are a handful of voters here during
vote counting, but many of them simply left when it started raining,” Ndaula
A section of voters and agents in Nakawa Division expressed fear and suspicion that the rain could facilitate vote-rigging. At one of the polling centres, polling officers got a tarpaulin and covered themselves inside, while agents and a few voters watched at a distance.
the polling officers, security and agents transferred the materials
including the boxes of ballot papers to a nearby Division Hall for
counting to continue. There were five polling stations that also sought
shelter in the same hall.
Ronald Kisambwe an agent of
one of the candidates told URN that he was suspicious of what transpired
during the process of transferring materials from the polling station
to the Division Hall.
Annet Kaggwa, the presiding official at Mbuya Church of
Uganda Primary School polling station says that vote counting will continue
once the rains stop.
“This process needs to be done when everyone is
seeing. We normally do it in the compound. We had finished counting the councillor
votes and were going to the Lord Mayor ones. When the rain stops we shall
continue,” she said.
At Homisdallen Primary School located in Kawempe, polling assistants looked for extra umbrellas to shield them from the rain. While some polling
agents demanded that voting continues, others sought that the process is halted because the ballots would be spoilt with fading ink, as soon as water sprinkled on them.
However, the rain intensified forcing polling
Assistants and agents to flee polling stations to school verandas. They resumed vote-counting after close to 15 minutes. At Katale zone, they had nowhere to run to and instead, used Umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain. Others partially braved
it to protect the ballots from getting wet.
Some polling stations like TLC leisure centre (NAL-O) in Kamwokya, the polling officials were seen struggling to find shelter for
and other documents. They were helped by the nearby boda-boda stage
shelter the materials. The other polling station TLC
leisure Centre (P-Z) kept the boxes in a security unit at a nearby school.
Ester Birungi a polling official who spoke to
Uganda Radio Network said they were waiting for the rain to come down and
resume counting. “We are still waiting for the rain to reduce because this space
is too small for the process to continue, but if the rain doesn’t stop the
polling agents will have to stand outside in the rain so that we can have space
for the continuation of the counting”.
The disruptions, however, worried some
voters. At Kabaawo polling station and Tinkabell Nursery School both in Rubaga
South, voters raised concern about the safety of the ballots. But many of them could also not withstand the downpour and run for dear life, as the rains intensified.
An estimated 1.2 million voters were expected to cast
their votes in the ongoing local government election. However low voter turn-up
has been experienced in different parts of the city. Polling station such as Kinawataka
Mujjambula’s place only had 60 voters cast their votes out of the expected 600
on the EC register.
Senior Staff Reporter
Joseph Kato is currently a Master's candidate at Makerere University. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University, a Diploma in Journalism and he's also a graduate in Guidance and Counseling.