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Tricks and Loopholes for Stealing Elections at Grassroots Disclosed

Nakisekka, the incumbent Masaka district Vice-Chairperson who however unsuccessfully for Masaka City female councilor representing Nyendo-Mukungwe Division, argues that the tendency of assigning staff permanent stations of work throughout the election process abets malpractice.
Masaka District Vice Chairperson Janat Nakisekka making her submission during consultation

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Janat Nakisekka, one of the former candidates in the recently concluded local government election is proposing rotational deployment of Presiding Officers and Polling Assistants as a way to eliminate election malpractices. 

This may not be very practicable, but the proposal is borne out of observable loopholes occasioned by the fixedness of the mentioned election officials, for which a solution needs to be found.

Nakisekka, the incumbent Masaka district Vice-Chairperson who however unsuccessfully for Masaka City female councilor representing Nyendo-Mukungwe Division, argues that the tendency of assigning staff permanent stations of work throughout the election process is abetting malpractice.

  The Electoral Commission through its mandate deploys one Presiding Officer and five polling Assistants on each polling station to support the overall management of the polling stations, issuance, accountability, and maintaining safe custody of voting materials, verification of voters, marking or dipping of the finger after a voter casts a ballot among other responsibilities.

  However, Nakisekka argues that many of these lower-cadre staff at the polling stations are found misusing their mandate to aid election malpractices, hence affecting the integrity of the exercise. 

  She made the submission during the election review meeting conducted by a group of Civil Society Organizations in Masaka sub region, on women participation in governance processes.

 

Nakisseka argues that many female candidates were cheated out of the elections, because they could not afford to bribe Presiding and Polling Assistants who she says profiteered from the elections exercise through abetting or participating in malpractices.

 

She suggests that rotating the election staff and polling stations denies them the opportunity of becoming familiar to perpetrators of election malpractices who she says are usually candidates or their agents indicate that as a result, the evils will be hard to initiate as polling stations will usually have new faces within a short while.

  //Cue in: “the issue is about…..

 Cue out; …..which is very easy.”// 

She also pointed out  the practice of ferrying voters to polling stations by candidates, arguing that the practice facilitates voter bribery which violates the principle of fairness.

 

Meanwhile Christine Nakyejjwe, who unsuccessfully contested for Masaka City Woman MP seat on the National Resistance Movement-NRM ticket, has also decried the high commercialization of politics, a practice she says is disadvantaging many potential candidates from participating in the process.

 

Florence Owamaria, another candidate who contested for Masaka City Woman MP has raised the kid gloves used to handle officials who abet rigging.  She appealed to the Electoral Commission to make it too risky for any Electoral staff who is found guilty of engaging in irregularities.

“We need to put in place very heavy repercussions  to any Electoral Commission staff who indulges in any election-related malpractice,” she noted. 

 

But Sam Agaba Rutemba, the Masaka District Electoral Commission Registrar says their staff are appointed on merit after being interviewed passing integrity tests. 

He says the Commission is reviewing the just concluded process and will eventually take appropriate reforms.  

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