Cases of fake ballot papers reported as Uganda heads to the poll


Uganda
EC chair Badru Kiggundu addressing the press ahead of Uganda elections

Just hours to Uganda’s presidential elections, reports have emerged that some candidates have formulated a way to interfere with the polls.

According to Uganda’s Electoral Commission (EC), there are plans by some candidates to print similar ballot papers and pre-tick and display them to the media in a bid to discredit the elections.

“The commission would like to assure the public that all our ballots are in safe custody and have special features that van distinguish them from the fake ones,” said EC chair Badru Kiggundu.

“Security has been notified of these ill plans and asked to investigate and arrest whoever is caught in this act and prosecute those responsible in accordance with the law.”

The EC further refuted claims that there are pens to be used on opposition strongholds whose ink fades saying such claims are aimed at creating anxiety among voters.

He warned voters against carrying their pens to polling stations saying action will be taken against anyone found with their own pen.

Already Opposition candidates including Kizza Besigye of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and former Prime Minister and independent candidate Amama Mbabazi have expressed their reservations over the transparency of the elections saying the EC has been partial towards the incumbent Yoweri Museveni.

In his briefing on Monday, Besigye said he had no faith in the EC noting that he will not accept results of a flawed election.

He also revealed plans to set up parallel tallying centres to ensure there is no rigging, a move that has elicited strong condemnation from President Museveni.

In his response, Museveni said only the EC is mandated by law to announce the results saying any attempts by Besigye to do so lead to his arrest.

The East African County will witness its most contested elections on Thursday as eight candidates battle it out for the most coveted job in the country.

Other than Museveni, Mbabazi and Besigye, other candidates whose names will be on the ballot paper include former Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, Pastor Joseph Mabirizi, Bwanika Abed, Maureen Kyala and Benon Biraaro.

President Museveni, who has ruled for 30 years, has been touted as the most likely candidate to clinch the seat though he faces competition from his longtime rival Besigye.

The FDC candidate has lost to Museveni in the past three elections, though he has attributed the loss to acts of intimidation and rigging.

Ahead of the elections, military and regular police have been deployed in the streets of Kampala and other towns in what the country’s Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura says is an attempt to maintain peace and order.

The polls will open at 7am on Thursday and close at 4pm with the results set to be announced within 48 hours.

@benjaminwafula

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