By Benjamin Jumbe
The Electoral Commission has been asked to consider establishing a dispute resolution desk that should be designed and empowered to resolve disputes for all elections.
This is one of the key recommendations by the Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) in its preliminary observer report on yesterday’s Kamuli Municipality Parliamentary by-election.
CCEDU says this desk should mainly be comprised of lawyers.
The group’s observers also recorded a number of malpractices that were orchestrated by supporters of both the FDC and NRM.
There included allegations of voter bribery by an agent of NRM candidate Hajjat Rehema Wetongola at St.Mark Primary School polling station.
The election was also characterized by incidents of violence and voters wanting to vote in the names of others.
The observers say all these issues mean the electoral process was compromised.
However, Chairperson of Electoral Commission (EC) Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, talked of “a smooth by-election” that defied prophets of doom.
“There have been fears that the exercise will not be successful but thanks to God that good has prevail over evil…The exercise went on smoothly and to the expectation of voters of Kamuli people,” Justice Byabakama said.
On the whole however, the general management of the process was commendable with all polling stations commencing voting before 8:00am.
Yesterday’s by-election was won by NRM’s Rehema Watongola with 8,726 votes against her closest challenger, FDC’s Salaam Musumba’s 5,778.