NEBBI BY-ELECTIONS: Polling Starts On Time Amid Heavy Security Deployment

Electoral officials at Boma Ground polling station, Nebbi municipality. (Photo: Crispin Kaheru)

Residents in Nebbi district in West Nile region of Uganda are voting in a by-election to fill the post of the district Chairperson which fell vacant in September last year after the death of the former Chairperson, Esrom William Alenyo.

Three candidates including Onyai Vicky Emmanuel of the opposition party FDC, Otuba George (Independent) and Urombi Emmanuel of the ruling NRM are vying for the post.

The district consists of 16 sub-counties, 121,856 registered voters and 223 polling stations and according to reports, the Electoral Commission started dispatching electoral materials to the remote areas of the district. Voters started casting their ballots on time in most parts of the district.

Dr Tanga Odoi, the Chairperson of the NRM Electoral Commission who together with the NRM publicist, Rogers Mulindwa have spent days in the area soliciting votes for the NRM candidate, told this news website that polling is so far generally peaceful with no cases of violence reported.

“The exercise is so far going on well and is peaceful. I have traveled to seven polling stations and I have not witnessed any incident of violence,” Tanga Odoi said.

“I am here with a number of youths and they are all calm waiting to cast their ballots, it seems the people of Nebbi are peaceful people,” he added.

He however said that at Agwak Primary School, presiding officers had at first barred polling agents from clearly witnessing some electoral activities, but added that the situation was immediately addressed.

“Why leave them behind? They are supposed to see all that transpires at the station,” Odoi said.

On his part, Rodgers Mulindwa who re-echoed Odoi’s observations expressed fear that the opposition activities could disrupt the peaceful election activity as the day progresses.

“There is no problem so far and by 4am, EC had started dispatching the materials to different stations. However, as you know, during election time, opposition politicians tend to disrupt the exercise towards lunch time news to seek media attention,” Mulindwa said.

But, FDC’s Secretary for EC, Augustine Ojobile told SoftPower News that there was heavy deployment in the area especially in sub-counties at the DRC border, although we could not independently verify his claims. Our efforts to reach the District Police Commander were futile.

“Military Police is patrolling even in people’s homes and army officers are all-over Parombo, Acana and Erusi sub-counties,” Ojobile said.

On Wednesday, Tanga Odoi said their opposition especially had planned to ferry in DRC residents to cast votes in their support, but when asked about the matter, Ojobile who regards the accusations as false wondered how the Electoral Commission had become that incompetent to allow people non registered voters more so foreigners to vote.

Meanwhile, voting is expected to end at 4pm and then tallying commences.

We shall keep you posted on all developments as they come in.

Electoral officials at Boma Ground polling station, Nebbi municipality. (Photo: Crispin Kaheru)
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