FDC’s Paul Mwiru has won the highly contested by-election for the Jinja East Parliamentary seat, beating his strongest opponent, Nathan Igeme Nabeta of the ruling NRM party.
Mwiru was declared the winner on Thursday night by the returning officer, Rogers Sserunjogi of Jinja Electoral District following an election that was marred by accusations of ballot stuffing.
The FDC candidate polled a total of 6,654 votes while his closest contender, Nabeta came in second place with 5,043 votes.
The other contestants; Faisal Masaba (Independent) and Paul Mugaya Geraldson of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) got 117 votes and 48 votes respectively while Richard Nyanzi, also Independent got 47 votes.
The other three Francis Wakabi, Monica Abuze and Hatimu Mugendi polled 24, 18 and 7 respectively.
Observers say the election was largely peaceful but the voter turn-up could have been affected by the heavy rains that characterized Thursday.
Mwiru accused the NRM candidate of coming up with about 2,000 ghost voters on the registry as well as over 8,000 pre-ticked votes which he said were discovered in Nabeta’s camp. The claim regarding pre-ticked ballots in favour of Nabeta was confirmed by Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) observers, particularly at Iganga Road Junction polling station.
But the Electoral Commission denied links to the alleged ballots which they say had strange serial numbers.
While speaking to the press after he was declared victor, Paul Mwiru thanked the electorate “for reclaiming their power”.
“You [supporters] have persevered through the intimidation, threats and assaults. You have not disappointed Ugandans who were looking to Jinja East for redemption after the illegal age limit amendment,” Mwiru said.
The election followed intense campaigns that saw both President Yoweri Museveni and his long time political rival, FDC’s Dr Kizza Besigye camp in Jinja to rally support for their respective party candidates.
Nabeta lost his seat in Parliament after the Court of Appeal nullified his victory and ordered for a by-election.