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Polling station in Nansana gets less than half required ballot papers

Miltary Police officers taking control at the polling station

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | There have been chaotic scenes as voters at the four polling stations hosted at St Joseph Catholic Church protested missing ballot papers and declaration of results form.

Since morning, there has been confusion brought by misallocation of ballot papers for both female and directly elected councilor. Upon detecting this anomaly, electoral officers tried to resolve the matter.

However, when electoral materials for polling stations at St Joseph Catholic Church were inspected, it established that they had received very few ballot papers compared to the number of registered voters at the polling stations.

Josephine Kyomuhendo, the presiding officer, notes that although the polling station has 1,061 registered voters, they have received 450 ballots. “Upon realizing this, agents said that the process should not start until all ballot papers are brought,” she noted.

Clair Nakajugo, Agent for Dr Samuel Mukasa who is the National Resistance Movement flag bear Nansansa East 11 B, noted that they could not start voting as the available ballots were few. She recalled that in the previous LCV elections which had a low turnout, over 800 people turned up.

“Accepting to vote means that when the available ballots are over, those who will come later will miss out,” Nakajugo said. “They have explained the mix-up of the ballots and we have understood the mater. Now, let them also tell us where the missing ballot papers are.”

Fred Kasiita, resident and voter, wonder what will be done if the voter turnout exceeds the available ballot papers.

On checking to the other three polling stations, they also had a similar challenge. For instance, NAM-Z polling station with 1014 registered voters, had also received 450 ballot papers. Furthermore, the polling station had not been given declaration of results form.

When the voters who had patiently remained in the queues heard about the matter, they lost their cool and threatened to beat up the electoral officers over what they termed as voting rigging attempt. Others were protesting for the delay as some had kept at the station since 8; 00 p.m.

Given the fact that the polling station is just opposite Nansana Divisional Police Headquarters, military police, and police officers armed to the teeth stormed the area to disperse the chaotic voters.   Later, at around 12; 00 p.m., a senior citizen in the area, Dr Ronald Musenze, came along with a megaphone to communicate and calm the rowdy voters.  Musenze argued that stopping voting would cause no good but the electoral officials should reconcile the matter together with candidates or their agents.

After Musenze’s intervention, voters cooled down and a brief meeting between the electoral officer and candidates took place and later a decision to resume the voting process was agreed upon.

Fosca Twemubaze, Wakiso Assistance Returning Officer, says they agreed that voting starts and if there is a polling station with higher turnup, they will borrow some from those which low turn up.  By 1; 00 p.m. voters lined up in the respective polling stations. Voting thus got underway.

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