Gunfire teargas rock LC 1 elections

Chaotic scenes were witnessed across the country as Ugandans for their village leaders for the first time in 16 years.

In several areas, the police in the army used force; firing live ammunition and teargas to disperse enraged locals who protested the manner in which the elections were conducted.

Some found their names missing from the voters roll while others were locked out for late coming.

But in some polling areas, losing candidates and their supporters disorganised the voting.

At Wandegeya Primary School in Kawempe division for instance, the exercise was repeated about four times until the exercise eventually aborted.

The case wasn’t any different in Nansana Municipality were police used teargas at various polling stations to disperse angry voters who rioted over claims of election rigging.

In Owino View Village traders also got a taste of teargas from police when a group of youths interrupted the voting processes accusing returning officers and police for taking bribes.

“When they realised that Kato’s line was too long, they started pushing people. The Officer in Command and those polling officers took bribes” an angry voter said.

Farouq Kato Ssekabembe was a candidate at Owino view village whose supporters accused the police of taking sides which sparked off chaos.

In Kisenyi 1 zone elections were cancelled as was the case in Muzana, Central Village and Blue Room.

While the voters accused polling agents of favouring some candidates, some leaders says it all emanated from the voters.

“People did not register yet now they want to vote. They kept on coming to the line thinking that just because they have National Identify Cards, they could vote even when they are not in the register,” said Halima Nakyejwe the Woman councillor Kisenyi 1.

Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama rushed to Kisenyi to calm the situation. He refixed the voting to Wednesday.

“Tomorrow you will vote your leaders. Be calm and choose your LC 1 Chairmen. The law provides that when elections fail then they can be conducted the next day,” said Byabakama.

Some 600 villages are repeating the exercise but Byabakama said incase situations do not permit fresh elections the next day, the commission would communicate the knew date for the election.

In areas where voters confiscated the voters registers from the polling officers, Byabakama said, it is unlikely that elections shall be conducted soon.

According to the Electoral Commission, all voters should be registered in the voter register. The need and Identification Card to identify them eselves before getting the voter slips. These slips could eventually be used in casting the vote.