By Wilber Muhwezi and Nelson Twinamatsiko
As Kyadondo East parliamentary by-election kicks off today CCEDU calls for calm during and after the polling day; and further urges tolerance and speedy post election reconciliation as a sure way of sustaining political stability and social cohesion in the Constituency.
According the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) coordinator; Crispin Kaheru, forty five (45) trained observers have been deployed ahead of the today’s 2017 Kyadondo East Constituency by-election.
The election is as a result of a Court ruling that nullified the February 2016 election of FDC’s Mr. Apollo Kantinti on grounds that the Electoral Commission did not comply with electoral laws then.
CCEDU election observers monitored the pre-election period including: candidates’ nomination, update of the voters register, the display of the voters’ register, and campaigns. The observers met with various stakeholders, including Electoral Commission, Uganda Police Force, candidates, political parties, civil society groups, religious institutions, among others.
CCEDU has today stationed observers in all parishes to cover at least 50% of the 93 polling stations in Kyadondo East Constituency. There are nine (9) parishes in the Constituency; these include: Bulamu, Gayaza,Katadde, Kabubbu, Kiteezi, Masooli, Nangabo, Wampeewo and Watuba. Polling day observation will focus on: opening, voting and closing processes.
CCEDU notes with satisfaction that the Electoral Commission (EC) carried out voter register update for eligible voters aged 18, in order to maximize enfranchisement. The Commission also successfully undertook candidate nominations.
CCEDU however notes that FDC candidate; Apollo Kantinti is not a registered voter in Kyadondo East Constituency. While he is legible to stand and be voted for within the constituency, he will NOT be able to vote for himself to day.
Mr. Kantinti is reported not to have participated in EC’s voter register update and display exercises and thus did not transfer his voting status from Mukono Municipality constituency where he is originally registered as a voter.
CCEDU observed that the campaigns were competitive, largely peaceful and took place unimpeded and in a celebratory atmosphere, in spite of isolated incidents of violence in some parts of Kyadondo East Constituency.
The distribution of money and gifts by candidates, especially from the National Resistance Movement, a practice inconsistent with section 68(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act 2005, was widely observed by CCEDU observers in Kyadondo East Constituency. It was evident that the NRM dominance and resources were much greater than those of the opposition and independent candidates.
Whilst the pre-electoral environment was generally peaceful, some stakeholders expressed anxiety with regard to the role of unidentified persons in Nangabo and Kiteezisub countieswho were seen photographing voters’ Identification cards, distributing between Ushs 2,000 and 50,000 per person and asking those that had received the money not to turn up for the voting exercise on 29 June.