SHEEMA – The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate in the Sheema Municipality parliamentary election, Ms Virginia Plan Mugyenyi, has said she is going to court over what she described as a sham election that saw her lose to NRM’s Dr Elioda Tumwesigye.
Dr Tumwesigye polled 13,590 votes while Ms Mugyenyi emerged second with 11,489 votes in the Friday election. Independents Benjamin Ruyombya polled 867 votes, Ambrose Mwesigye Black Man 32 votes, Jonas Tumwiine polled 185 votes, Meshach Katusiime got 756 votes and Raymond Kamugisha polled 276 votes.
But Ms Mugyenyi said the whole process was marred by irregularities.
“Everybody saw heavy presence of army, our agents were arrested, our voters intimidated and bribed I can’t accept the process and outcome. I will announce my next course of action after consulting my lawyers,” Ms Mugyenyi told journalists at the tally centre on Saturday morning.
On voting day, members of her campaign team, Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye, former Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality MP Odo Tayebwa, Dr Ponsiano Mugyenyi, her husband, Sheema FDC chairman Godfrey Mugisha and Rukiga MP Jack Sabiiti were arrested by police for allegedly disrupting the exercise. They were later freed.
At more than five polling stations in Sheema Central Division, voting went up to around 8 pm when it was supposed to stop at 4 pm. Mr Tashobya said in some area voting started very late (some polling stations opened around 12 pm) due to late delivery of voting materials and arrival of police constables.
Mr Mwijukye said Ms Mugyenyi is the rightful Sheema Municipality MP because the whole exercise was rigged. He said many of their supporters had days to the election been beaten up.
Only July 18, Wilson Bamwesigye, the head of the FDC campaign task force in Rushozi Division, and Charles Byaruhanga Charles were seriously beaten up at Katwe, Kyabandara, as they returned from Rushozi where they had a campaign. Tusasirwe Emmanuel, who attempted to record the events, was also beaten up and his phone vandalised. Bamwesigye, who is supporting Ms Plan yet he is NRM, is said to have suffered a fractured leg.
However, Mr Stephen Tashobya, commissioner of the Electoral Commission (EC), said the Sheema poll “has been one of the most peaceful exercises” EC has had.
“Those who have lost, we have two years and two months to the next election, you have another chance (for contesting) coming. We (EC) shall always fulfill our mandate of delivering free and fair elections,” said Mr Tashobya.
He added, “Those who have succeeded take message of peace, take message of reconciliation, live in peace, live in unity for the good of Sheema municipality.”