Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There were mixed reactions in parts of Wakiso on the guidance given by National Resistance Movement-NRM chairman Yoweri Museveni, allowing non-registered members of the party to participate in the ongoing primaries.
Museveni recently guided that all party members with cards, but whose names do not appear in the register should be allowed to take part in the primaries. The guidance followed reports that thousands of names had been found missing in registers across the country.
The guidance has however stirred confusion in some areas where voting is taking place. At Bembe village in Namayumba sub-county, the NRM chairperson Joseph Menya wanted to have a verification process but he was overpowered by voters who insisted that they were all members of NRM who needed no verification.
Menya asked the voters to present their party cards as one of the identifications; ” Those who are not in the register kindly present your yellow cards (NRM party card), if you don’t have it please vacate,” the village chairperson said after roll calling those who appeared in the register.
The electorate however referred Menya to Museveni’s guidelines arguing that the president had allowed all those who had missed out on registration to take part in the primaries. But Menya retaliated saying that some of the purported party members had been fronted by opposition to vote out the would-be NRM strong candidate.
The same confusion was witnessed in several polling stations in Kakiri sub-county in Nagulu village where the party register had only 80 voters. The village registrar Lukia Sande agreed with the electorate to register all those who were around and willing to vote without any verification.
However, Sande insisted that’s only those who are above 18 years of age would be added into the register thus requesting willing voters to present their national identity cards.
At Kakiri health center III, the electorate insisted that the registrar had to follow the national chairman’s guidance to the dot by verifying every member before being added to register. Sydney Ssenkumba, an NRM supporter alleges they had learnt of a plan of people power supporters to disorganize their elections.
At first, the registrar followed the guidelines by subjecting every unregistered voter to verification by asking those around whether he or she is a known NRM supporter in the area. Ssenkumba says this worked and some masqueraders were kicked out.
But after some time, the verification process was dropped and the registrar co_opted to register all willing voters as long as they had national identity cards. The situation was no different at St James Church of Uganda, a polling station in Kawanda, Nansana municipality. Mary Batanda, the registrar at Masuliita playground notes that the decision to let all people vote was decided by the party leaders at the village and she had no authority to overrule them.
Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, one of the contestants in the Busiro North race has described the process as a total fraud arguing that the party leadership should reconsider the voting guidelines.