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Low voter turnout mars women council elections countrywide

Women line-up to choose leaders in Kamuli Municipality. The Women council elections have been marred by low turn-up and the question of representation stands unclear (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – The village women council elections countrywide on Tuesday were characterized by low turnout, with some places registering less than 10% turnout of voters.

The election was meant to choose leaders of women councils in 60,800 villages countrywide. The Women’s Council elective positions consist of chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary and secretary for finance.

However, a mini-survey conducted by this website across the four regions showed that by 12pm, the polling stations only had polling officials.

In many polling stations in Kampala, many voters had not turned up by midday. At a polling station at Ntinda Primary School in Kampala, there was a handful of voters by 1pm, with officials saying that there was lack of voter education.

“If government had prioritized this exercise, it would have declared a public holiday so that people come and vote. Otherwise, this turnout is horrible,” said a polling official, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.

In Lira Municipality, many polling stations visited by our team such as Jinja Camp and Ipito Aweno in Ojwina Division had not registered any voters by midday.   The District registrar, Mr Charles Egimu, said many aspirants would sail through unopposed.

In Tororo district, the situation was no better. At a polling station in Amagoro “A” village in Eastern Division, one candidate won with only 20 votes after many voters did not turn up.

The presiding officer, Mr Joseph Tumwine, said voters were shy to stand behind their favourite candidates.

In Mbale Town, many polling stations such as Nahupa cell, Fairway cell, Maluku cell, North road cell, Namakwekwe cell had not registered any voters by 3pm.

Mr Geoffrey Magomu, a resident, said the lining up behind the candidates scared away voters.

“This concept of lining up behind candidates’ wiil not work and since it’s started failing in this level, it will be worse when it comes to village chairpersons,” he said.

In Kabale district, western Uganda, about 50 percent of the candidates from 681 villages were unopposed after many voters stayed away.

In Mbarara district, the turn out at the 776 polling stations was low, which officials attributed to lack of civic education and publicity

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