Police on Monday arrested 12 people, among them Jinja Municipality Speaker Moris Bizitu, for allegedly tampering with the voters’ register in run-up to the March 13 Jinja East MP By-election.
Mr Bizitu, who was the FDC chief mobiliser in the election won by the party flag-bearer Paul Mwiru, was picked alongside district electoral commission officials and are currently detained at Jinja Central Police station.
Deputy Regional Police Commander Onesmus Mwesigwa on Tuesday confirmed the arrests but declined to reveal the identities of the other suspects, saying it may jeopardize investigations.
“We are holding some people suspected to have breached section of the law of Electoral Commission Act 29 (f-g) of procuring registration of other persons not entitled to be on the register to vote in Jinja East constituency,” said Mr Mwesigwa.
The District Returning Officer, Mr Rogers Sserujogi, confirmed the arrests but denied knowledge of any efforts to tamper with the voters’ register ahead of the by-election.
“Police called them earlier to record statements, including myself, that they were investigating the case, which I do not know anything about. They called me again that they want to meet them (Monday). I did not know that they wanted to arrest them,” said Mr Sserujogi, adding that he does not know the complainant in this particular case.
However, sources from the district electoral commission believe the arrests are part of efforts by the ruling party to petition court over the election which they said was marred by rigging.
The National Resistance Movement Secretary General Kasule Lumumba said Mwiru’s election was “riddled with various electoral malpractices like multiple voting, voter bribery and intimidation of voters.”
Lumumba said they had instructed the party’s legal team to assess the evidence and advise on appropriate action.