Lwengo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Joseph Balikuddembe, the National Unity Platform-NUP candidate for the Lwengo LC V chairperson’s seat has petitioned the Electoral Commission protesting the conduct of the presiding officials deployed in the area.
Balikuddembe lost to the National Resistance Movement-NRM candidate, Ibrahim Kitatta. In his petition to the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Justice Byabakama, Balikuddembe protests what he describes the as unbecoming conduct of the electoral officials in Lwengo district.
He faults Marble Mutamba, the Lwengo District Returning Officer of bias, saying that she connived with the NRM candidate to falsify results in the just concluded local government polls and deliberately declined to listen to their complaints during the vote tallying process.
He also accuses the Returning Officer of allowing armed security operatives into the tally center, who he says messed up the process in favour of the NRM candidate. Balikuddembe asks Justice Byabakama to reprimand Mutamba together with her juniors for presiding over outright irregularities that manifested in the local government polls.
According to the Electoral Commission declaration of results forms, Balikuddembe lost to Ibrahim Kittata who polled 24,821 votes against 18,614 votes. Emmanuel Mwesigwa came third with 2,807 votes followed by Christopher Ssensalire who scored 2,146 votes and Shadick Mutebi emerged last with 730 votes.
Balikuddembe argues that the results are not the true reflection of the people’s will, arguing that he has gathered substantial evidence, which he will present in court to challenge the election results.
Marble Mutamba, the Lwengo District Returning Officer has described the allegation labelled against her as baseless. She, however, says the candidate has a right to petition the Electoral Commission Chairperson as long as there is evidence. Ibrahim Kitatta, who was declared winner of the Lwengo L.CV polls, says his opponent is free to seek legal redress if at all he has any grievance with the process.
Section 15 of the Electoral Commission Act, gives the commission powers to resolve complaints submitted in writing in regard to any irregularity of any aspect of the electoral process. The same Act allows the Commission to take the necessary action to correct the irregularity and any effect it may have caused.