NEWS

Mwiru declared Jinja East MP in election marred by bribery, ballot stuffing claims

Paul Mwiru

The Electoral Commission has Thursday evening declared FDC’s Paul Mwiru the new MP for Jinja East. With 6,654.votes, Mwiru trounced his closest challenger, NRM’s Igeme Nabeta who posted 5,043 votes.

EC chairperson Byabakama read the results to a jubilant crowd in Jinja a few minutes to 10:00pm.

Heavy security deployment

As votes were counted, UPDF soldiers and police officers were deployed to man security in the area.

The security agents were seen near at all polling stations along the streets of Jinja town.

Although eight candidates contested for the Parliamentary seat, the battle was between Mwiru and Nabeta.

Policemen stand guard on Jinja Main Street as votes were counted.

Nabeta cast his vote in the morning, while Mwiru voted in the afternoon amidst complaints that FDC supporters were being intimidated and others arrested.

The FDC leadership also petitioned the Electoral Commission alleging that Nabeta’s supporters were involved in ballot stuffing.

MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said two supporters of Igeme Nabeta, the NRM candidate were arrested with 400 pre-ticked ballot papers.

“One of them, we engulfed him at Iganga Road junction carrying preticked papers, while another one was at Main Street Primary School. We handed them to police,” the Kiira Municipality MP told PML Daily on phone.

On Tuesday, 48 supporters of Mr Mwiru were also detained for allegedly plan to incite violence.

Kiira Region police spokesperson Diana Nandaula said the suspects were throwing stones at vehicles of NRM supporters.

“After last evening’s (Tuesday) campaigns, three yellow buses were attacked along Main Street by unknown people and stoned, shattering their glasses. We then received an eyewitness account and traced the suspects to NaFRI where they were arrested and are being detained in several gazzetted police stations across Jinja,” she said.

Police officers guard a ballot box.

CCEDU report

In its Preliminary report, Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) said the by-election in Jinja East Constituency registered a slow start especially after the heavy morning downpour disrupted the commencement of polling.

But some voters braved the heavy rains that characterized most  parts of the country cast their vote.

CCEDU coordinator Crispin Kaheru told PML Daily that the Jinja East elections could have been the most policed by-election in Uganda’s recent history.

“With a single polling station being manned by more than one polling constable.  Most urban polling stations had as many as 30 security persons supervising a polling station – a number that surpasses what has been seen before in hotly contested elections such as, the Kyadondo East Constituency by-election conducted in 2017,” Mr Kaheru explained.

The report shows that allegations of vote rigging, ballot stuffing and voter bribery remained widely spread.

Electoral Commission speaks out

The EC however dismissed the complaints around leaked and pre-ticked ballot papers noting that the serial numbers on the allegedly pre-ticked ballots were different from those that EC held in their custody.

 

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