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Two presiding officers arrested in Lugazi for ballot stuffing

a lady voting (file photo)

Mukono, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Two presiding officers have been arrested and voting suspended at Moneko and Kololo-Luseeta polling stations in Lugazi Municipality following reports of ballot stuffing. 

Henry Kafuko, the presiding officer at Moneko polling Station and Sula Muganga who was presiding over polls at Kololo polling station were arrested with three boxes each full of pre-ticked ballot papers.    

The voting exercise delayed in the entire municipality due to late delivery of election materials following a heavy downpour. But, according to area residents, the two officers were seen stuffing ballot boxes with pre-ticket ballot papers before the exercise started at mid-day. 

At Moneko residents checked the pre-ticked ballots papers and found that they were in favour of Baker Ssali, the National Resistance Movement-NRM Mayoral candidate. Ssali is competing with Patrick Mhondha, of the National Unity Platform-NUP, John Bosco Asea of Forum for Democratic Change and the incumbent Deogratius Mbabazi.

The residents forced the presiding officers to halt the exercise before escorting the boxes to Lugazi Regional Police. Patrick Mhondha who has headed protests against continuing with voting at Moneko polling station accused the NRM of playing tricks in their favour after the poor performance in the presidential and local council elections at the district level.

“My agents have found boxes full at Moneko before the voting exercise which made them suspicious. They immediately brought the matter to my attention,” he said. 

Ananias Mulekwa, a resident at Kasoga notes that unless the Electoral Commission-EC brings new sealed boxes, they will not allow the voting exercise at Kololo station to continue, adding that ballot stuffing is an act of cowardice. 

Ann Mary Tusingirwe, the Buikwe District Returning Officer said that the matter is being investigated.  Meanwhile, Ssezibwa Regional Police Commander Robert Kalyesubula says that the police will have an official communication on the matter before the end of the day.

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