Sembabule, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There is growing uncertainty on the fate of National Resistance Movement-NRM candidates for Rugusuulu sub-county in Sembabule district, as the party’s Electoral Commission delays to release results of primary polls conducted more than a week ago.
The NRM conducted party primaries to choose candidates for lower local council positions on September 16. The winners would then proceed to be nominated by the Electoral Commission and campaign against other contenders from the opposition sides.
However, the declaration of winners in Rugusuulu was delayed following a dispute on the validity of results from two villages. This has now generated a sharp controversy among the contestants as the deadline for nomination of local government candidates’ by the National Electoral Commission draws closer.
Benon Burola, who contested for the party ticket against Fred Karakure, the incumbent LCIII chairperson accuses the district NRM registrar of playing delaying tactics with intentions to locking him out the general nominating exercise.
He argues that despite having signed declaration of results forms from all villages that put him in the lead, the district registrar declined to declare him the winner and up to now failed to conduct an audit of results from the two contested villages. He indicates that he is now stuck after the NRM district chairperson Sam Kuteesa declined to endorse him for eventual nomination by the Electoral Commission as the NRM candidate.
According to partial results by the Sembabule district NRM elections registrar, Burola polled 3,429 votes to defeat Karakure who garnered 3,357 votes.
But Fred Karakule who is also yet to be nominated by the Electoral Commission argues that primaries were marred with grave irregularities that affected the outcomes, prompting him to petition the NRM Electoral Commission demanding for fresh polls in the contested areas. He accuses his competitor of attempting to mislead the Electoral Commission to hurriedly nominate him as a candidate before the internal party dispute is resolved.
Charles Turyahimbisa, the Sembabule Deputy NRM Election Registrar indicates that the matter was forwarded to the Party’s National Electoral Commission and they are still waiting for guidance before surrendering the party flag.
He says that the party is currently occupied with organizing residual elections for Parliamentary positions, arguing that they will equally handle complaints of local governments at the opportune time.
But Barbra Busingye, the National Electoral Commission Registrar for Sembabule has challenged the political parties to address their internal contradictions in time, or else some of the flag bearers may not be nominated over failure to meet the deadline.