NEWS

FDC official, 11 others arrested over rigging in Jinja by-election

Jinja Municipality Speaker Moris Bizitu (2nd Left) with Jinja East Municipality Member of Parliament (elect) Paul Mwiru after the Court of Appeal announced the seat vacant.

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.

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