Aggrieved election ‘losers’ should go to Court, Uganda EC says
Uganda’s Electoral Commission has stated that Thursday’s elections will be free and fair though urging anyone who will be dissatisfied with the results to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, just hours to the elections, the commission chair Badru Kiggundu called on candidates to desist from making inflammatory statements and attempting to interfere with the outcome of the elections saying the commission is not partial towards any candidate.
He also warned those who are out to cause chaos saying security will be tight during the process.
“The Electoral Commission has received information that some political leaders as well as individuals for various elective positions are planning to form security groups known as youth brigades, militia or vigilantes.”
“The commission wishes to reiterate that it is only the Uganda Police which is in charge of providing security during polling. All candidates are urged to desist from forming such parallel groups which are illegal.”
The EC chair reiterated his earlier directive that no voter will be allowed to take photos inside polling stations, an issue that has faced opposition from presidential candidates Kizza Besigye of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.
Kiggundu stated that presidential results will be announced at the national tallying centre at Mandela National Stadium in Namboole, Kampala within 48 hours after the closure of polls.
Individual polling stations will, however, be allowed to announce the results of the presidential, directly-elected Member of Parliament and District Woman Member of Parliament before they are relayed to the districts and later national tallying centre.
The media has also been urged to be cautious in their reporting to prevent creating tension in the country.
Kiggundu said that the media can broadcast the results as long as they clarify that they are provisional, pending confirmation from the EC.
He, however, warned them against holding interviews with candidates after the election saying doing so may provide a platform for issuance of defamatory statements.
Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, in his address, said security will be beefed throughout the country adding that there should be no cause for panic.
He explained that the presence of military and regular police in the streets is aimed at ensuring security in the country stating that the recently imported police vehicles and anti-terror gear are to help the force in community policing.
“There is nothing new with the importation of police vehicles because we have done it before. It all goes towards helping the police in community policing and not intimidate voters.”
The EC stated that it had already distributed election materials to far off areas with the towns close to Kampala receiving the material early Thursday morning.
“The commission has designated a dispatch plan for each district to ensure timely delivery of the kits to each polling station to enable polling to start on time.”
He called on voters to report to their polling stations early since poling will commence at 7AM “as long as there are at least five registered voters present” and close at 4PM.
“Even after 4pm, however, all voters already in the line will be allowed to vote with those who are late being turned away.”
Thursday’s election is the toughest for the incumbent since he took power in 1986 and will bring together some of his former ministers including Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi.
While Mbabazi is making his first shot at the presidency, Besigye has lost in the past three attempts and will be seeking to capture the seat in the February 18th polls.
Museveni has exuded confidence in winning the polls, though saying he will relinquish power if he loses.
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