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In Bundibugyo, 39,416 registered voters missed presidential election

a voter voting as other voters line up (FILE photo)

Bundibugyo, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | A total of 39,416 registered voters in Bundibugyo District did not take part in the presidential election exercise this year. The area has 113,472 registered voters across the 298 polling stations in the sub-counties of Bwamba and Bughendera.

According to the Declaration of Results forms from Bundibugyo District Electoral Commission office, only 29,419 of the 44, 584 registered voters from Bughendera participated in the election of the President. Similarly, only 44, 637 out of the 68,888 registered voters in Bwamba were able to vote. 

This is an increase from the 23, 009 voters who were a no-show in 2016. At the time, the area had 98,976 registered voters. Five years earlier, in 2011, the district had 93,594 voters, and of these, 38,390 did not participate in the election of a president. 

Bundibugyo District Registrar Robert Kunihira says the district has been registering a swinging pattern influenced by, among other factors, the voter’s attraction to the available candidates and civic education. Kunihira says that many of those missing the exercise are businessmen and women.

“For example this in this exercise we had more registered voters because people embraced our call, so when there is such a drive or even a candidate, they turn up in massive numbers,“  Kunihira explained.

Moses Kunihira, a voter registered in the district says he had gone to the polling station, as early at 7: 30 a.m., with the hope that he would be able to exercise his constitutional right to vote. But the polling did not start on time, and the voter left the polling station to attend to other personal errands. 

Crispin Kaheru, an independent election observer told URN in a phone interview that people are increasingly getting frustrated with elections. He also believes that the delay in opening voting centres and delivery of materials keeps out some people who have other duties to attend to.

Despite the low turn up, the district recorded 2,146 invalid votes in the presidential election exercise alone. 1,371 of these were in Bwamba and 775 were recorded from Bughendera. Kunihira says most of the invalid votes marked more than one of the candidates while others did not choose any of the candidates. On top of this, there were 86 spoilt votes, 38 from Bwamba, and 46 from Bughendera.

The outcome represented a decline in President Yoweri Museveni’s support polling 16,138 votes against Robert Kyagulanyi’s 11, 824 votes in Bugendera and  36,398 votes against Kyagulanyi’s 6,250 in Bwamba. 

In 2016, Museveni polled 61,553 votes representing 85.5 per cent of the entire cast votes in the district.

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