Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission -EC has directed District Returning Officers to obtain “written statements from presiding officers” as a first step to getting to the bottom of the statistical anomalies arising from the declared results from the January 14th Presidential elections.
EC spokesperson Paul Bukenya told Uganda Radio Network that the statements will help Commission understand better what happened at these polling stations. He says the Commission has taken interest in the issues raised by Uganda Radio Network (URN) from data analysis of election results.
From analysis of the January 14th election results, URN has uncovered polling stations where candidates were not awarded any votes that they scored and areas where voting patterns have raised questions from election observers.
URN for instance has uncovered four polling stations where the president’s results were not recorded in the tally sheets. At two polling stations in Tororo district, president Museveni polled 252 votes yet the tally sheets show that he got zero.
Museveni scored 100 votes at St. Kizito Primary School (N-Z) and 152 votes at Nyambulie polling station, according to several voters in these areas interviewed by URN, including polling officials. But EC instead gave the president zero votes at these polling centres.
Shaban Muganja, the LCI and NRM chairman of the village where St. Kizito Primary is situated described results giving Museveni zero as “bad and a sign of rigging.”Phibby Otaala, the NRM Tororo vice chairperson said “it is madness” that Museveni was given zero at these polling stations.Otaala called for prosecution of electoral officials who were in charge of these polling stations.
At two polling stations—Comprehensive Secondary School [A-BUS] and Kawafu Namagembe’s Place (NAM-Z)—in Wakiso district, Museveni was given two votes yet he had scored 142 and 85 votes respectively.Independent presidential candidate Henry Tumukunde was given a total of 825 votes but several polling officials we interviewed said Tumukunde got zero.
URN visited five polling stations where John Katumba was awarded over100 votes and Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine got zero, and found that Bobi Wine’s votes had been given to Katumba. And at another polling station in Masaka City—Market Triangle—Bobi Wine’s votes (285) were given to Museveni who had scored 50 votes. It’s Museveni’s votes (50) which were given to Bobi Wine.
Such cases, according to EC spokesperson Paul Bukenya, prompted the Commission to ask the District Returning Officers to obtain “written statements from presiding officers, help EC better understand what happened at these polling stations”.
URN also revealed 6,443 invalid votes in districts of Katakwi, Budaka and Pakwach where EC tally sheets indicated that there were zero invalid votes. We used National Unity Platform (NUP) Declaration Forms to tally invalid votes in these districts. The Pakwach District Returning Officer, Johnson Muhumuza says “it was an error” that the tally clerks did not capture the invalid votes data.
Katakwi District Returning Officer, Martin Musoke said “there was a system breakdown in terms of capturing invalid votes.”
Through data analysis, URN showed that there was a significant variance in voter turnout for the president and District Woman Member of Parliament yet voting happened on the same day. Museveni for instance scored 50,805 more votes than the people who voted for the Woman Member of Parliament in the districts of Kazo, Kiruhura and Isingiro in western Uganda.
And 409 polling stations had 100 percent voter turnout yet a voters’ register is generated a year before election. Museveni polled 100 percent at almost half of the polling stations that registered 100 voter turnout. This implies that not a single voter died, was sick, was away from home or decided not to votes at these polling stations, argued the election observers as they raised questions that beg to be probed.
Such voter turnout, election observers argue, isn’t normal.
Bukenya said the results “were published as they came in” pending engagement on questionable voting patterns. He said results from a polling station cannot be nullified “just because the voting pattern has changed.” The voter turnout, he adds, “can happen like that .”
More than 100 polling stations had 100 percent voter turnout according to 2016 presidential election results. Asked if EC questioned this voting pattern, Bukenya veered off this question saying he can only talk about questions that are being raised “now.”
What if EC finds that these voting patterns significantly impacted the election outcome by favouring Museveni who was declared the winner, Bukenya said “EC cannot speculate about what lies ahead.”
Museveni was declared winner by EC chairperson Simon Byabakama after polling 6,042,898 or 58.38 percent of the total valid votes cast. Kyagulanyi came second with 3,631,437 which is 35.08 percent. The results have been disputed by several presidential candidates, with Kyagulanyi petitioning the Supreme Court, calling for nullification of Museveni’s win.