Ugandan Elections No longer Have Any Value - Julius Arugu, Leader Of Public Affairs Center Of Uganda
In the highly contested Soroti East by-election, various allegations of malice, violence, election rigging, and arrests of over 70 supporters of Forum for party Democratic Change (FDC), with the party President Patrick Amuriat were reported.
Several videos circulated on Twitter indicating vote stuffing on Thursday. On Wednesday night, there had been allegations of bribery, arrest of FDC polling agents, heavy deployment of police and army personnel in the region, numberless vehicles touring the streets, and roadblocks on different roads.
Nonetheless, National Resistance Movement (NRM)’s Herbert Edmund Ariko was declared the MP-elect of Soroti East Division after scooping 9,407 votes. The FDC contestant Moses Attan got 8771 votes, and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) candidate Pascal Amuriat scored 115 votes.
Members of the opposition parties have since dismissed the election results, citing election inconsistencies such as vote rigging and violence.
Mr. Patrick Arugu, the leader of the Public Affairs Centre of Uganda, confirmed some of the allegations of election rigging during a conversation with Olive Najjuma on The Brunch Talk Saturday afternoon.
“At around 11 am, after casting my vote at Owolo polling station, I got a call from a brother informing me that Police had arrived at the station with 4 vehicles and stopped everyone from voting. People were chased from the station and it started pre-ticking the ballots,” he reported.
He added that, out of the 424 voters, by 2 p.m, the ballot papers were done. 4 of the registered voters at the station had not cast their votes, including his brother. Police guarded the ballots until 5 pm and drove away with the votes.
He cited vote rigging at the Kislingi polling station where ballot ticking was done by the presiding officers under the guard of military and police officers. The people were driven out and left to watch as the ballots were ticked.
“I doubt people will still have the morale to go and exercise their right because they stood in the line and watched. I don’t see any democracy we are approaching. What we have witnessed in these by-elections has been so horrible that I no longer see the purpose of elections in our country.” he said.
Based on his experience, the government could have appointed the people it wanted because even as he played his role of encouraging people to go and vote, he was threatened on grounds that he was inciting violence.
“The image for us in Teso sub-region has changed because what we saw is what we had been hearing. It is an abuse of police and the government. Government should leave the Electoral Commission to exercise its roles and let people participate fairly in the electoral process otherwise it should nullify the constitution,” he said.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1 pm on RX Radio.