“It was the conduct of the people that led to the chaos and not the organisational capacity of the Electoral Commission,” says EC chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama.
KAMPALA – Over 100 LC1 losers have petitioned the Electoral Commission (EC) chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, citing breach of the electoral rules during last week’s polls across the country.
Byabakama told New Vision the candidates are contesting the process, saying the law and the rules were not followed.
“The bulk of the petitions hinge on allegations that the elections were not carried out according to the law and the guidelines. But, they should know that we were going through the rumble of not having elections for 17 years,” Byabakama said, revealing that the EC will expeditiously handle the petitions before this month ends.
Byabakama said the petitioners are mainly from urban areas of Wakiso, Kampala, Mukono, Mbale, among other areas.
“It is healthy to petition. As I talk now, there are more than 100 petitions here from various LC1 candidates,” he said.
Asked when the EC will be releasing the official national results from all the 60,800 villages, the EC boss said “very soon”.
“We have to do verification. There are areas which had challenges. In some, village registers were stolen. So, in order to release the results, we need some time,” he said.
Byabakama said the process of disseminating results from the village level to the EC headquarters takes time.
“Village election officers submit to sub-county supervisors, who then submit to the district returning officers. But, we were overwhelmed and humbled by the response of the people towards the LC1 electoral process.
“The turnout was impressive and unprecedented. In some villages, over 500 people lined up,” he said.
The EC chief has also distanced his staff from the chaotic scenes that marred LC polls in 635 villages, saying failure by voters to register in village books is partly to blame for the disorganisation.
He, however, said residents in the affected 635 villages where the vote was not cast on Tuesday, last week have now all elected their local council chairpersons.
“It was the conduct of the people that led to the chaos and not the organisational capacity of the EC. Those that never registered in village registers wanted to vote, arguing that they have national IDs.
The disease of Ugandans is that they never follow guidelines when it comes to elections. You tell them to register in village books, but they don’t bother. So, when things heat up, they remember that they have to vote,” he said, thanking voters for turning up in huge numbers.
The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has claimed victory in the LC1 polls with 69% from the 54,713 villages, so far.