ARUA- The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party has named Mr Musema Bruce as the party flag bearer in the August 15 by-election for the Arua Municipality MP seat.
The seat fell vacant after the incumbent, Col Ibrahim Abiriga, was gunned down alongside his brother, Saidi Kongo, in Kawanda, Wakiso District, on June 8.
Mr Paul Mwiru, the FDC deputy spokesperson, said Musema, who contested against Col Abiriga in the 2016 election, is the right candidate for the job.
“We know this is our seat and we do not want to take any chances. We can’t have any other candidate for the place. We now confirm that our candidate as FDC will be Mr Musema, any FDC who is interested in the same position as they have been posting on social media should just forget,” Mr Mwiru said during the weekly press conference at the party’s headquarters at Najjanankumbi on Monday.
In the 2016 election, Col Abiriga defeated Mr Musema by only 1,246 votes. Following defeat, Mr Musema went to court, accusing the Electoral Commission (EC) of conniving with Abiriga to make parallel declaration forms that bore neither the codes nor serial numbers.
However, in June 2016, the High Court in Arua dismissed the election petition against Abiriga as the judge said the petitioner failed to prove that the use of unauthentic results declaration forms to declare him winner affected the final outcome of the election.
Justice John Eudes Keitirima noted that the EC was right in ordering for the printing of the unofficial declaration forms to include Maj Abiriga’s name, otherwise it would have disenfranchised the voters.
The EC, before the elections, had deleted Maj Abiriga’s name from the declaration forms after he lost a petition by a voter. But just a week to Election Day, President Museveni ordered to have Maj Abiriga reinstated on the ballot papers. Consequently on Election Day, some declaration forms did not bear Abiriga’s name.
The EC has set July 5 to July 9 for voter registration while nomination of candidates will be conducted on July 19-20.
“The EC has appointed July 9 as the cut-off date for registration and or transfer of voting locations in Arua Municipality. This exercise will enable Uganda citizens of 18 years and above, who either reside or originate in parishes/wards within Arua Municipality, and who have not had their photographs and bio-data,” said the EC chairman, Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, last week.
“Nomination of candidates will be conducted on July 19-20 at Arua district headquarters. This will be followed by a five day period where the public will access the candidates’ nomination papers and will be able to lodge complaints, if any, on suitability of the candidates to contest in the by-election,” Justice Byabakama added.
He banned fundraising activities in the municipality with effect from July 9 and warned that any candidate who shall be found fundraising risks being disqualified.
The EC secretary, Sam Rwakoojo, said they will spend Shs504m on the by-election and urged candidates and voters to be peaceful. Justice Byabakama said they were to engage stakeholders including security agencies to ensure a peaceful exercise.
Arua Municipality has 45,184 voters and 65 polling stations.