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Electoral Commission still probing reports of ballot stuffing in Hoima polls

FILE PHOTO: Hoima by-elections

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission is investigating reports of alleged ballot stuffing in the just concluded Hoima by-elections.

The incident which allegedly happened at Kibaire polling station, in Bulindi parish was brought to the attention of the commission by Michael Kabaziguruka and. Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, who were serving as polling agents for the Forum for Democratic Change and Opposition front candidate Asinansi Nyakato.

According to the two agents, a voter who attempted to insert pre-ticked ballot papers into the ballot box was intercepted by the Polling Constable but managed to escape from the polling station. He was allegedly found in the possession of 51 ballots which were handed over to the EC Senior Legal Officer Enock Tugonza.

Justice Byabakama was addressing a press conference in Kampala this morning.

On Monday the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC accused the commission of having given the ballots to NRM voters to rig the Thursday election, which was eventually won by the NRM candidate Harriet Businge with 33,301 votes against Nyakato’s 28,789 votes.

Byabakama says the police will investigate the matter and ascertain the origin of the ballots, the person behind the move and how they were circulated.  He, however, hastens to add that the isolated incident does not cast the process in doubt or affect the pursuit of free and fair elections.

He, however, expressed concern over the circulation of fictitious results from non-existing polling stations, that were shared through social media platforms, misleading the public and other stakeholders and giving the voters false hope about the results.

Byabakama further confirmed forgeries by alleged FDC supporters Kizza Hakim and one Walakira who were apprehended by the Police for allegedly forging accreditation cards from the Commission. These have since been charged with forgery before the Magistrate’s Court at Hoima and are now remanded, as investigations continue.

He warned the general public and particularly stakeholders in the electoral process that forgery of election materials is a criminal act.

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