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Polls frustration in Masaka, Sembabule

The Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday postponed elections for directly elected MP for Mawogola South after the ballot papers were found to be defective.

There was a mix-up of the party symbols printed against the candidates’ photos. Besides the photo of NRM candidate Joseph Ssekabiito Kitayimbwa was a hoe (DP symbol) instead of the bus while DP’s Vincent Sserwanga Wakibi instead had the bus symbol.

The race has five candidates, Baker Mukasa (FDC), Vincent Kimbugwe (Independent) and Sulait Mulumba (Independent).

“To be fair to all parties, we have decided to indefinitely suspend the election. a new date will be communicated,” said Latif Ngonzi, the Sembabule returning officer.

He added that this symbol mix up was made at the point of printing and the matter was beyond his jurisdiction.

MORE CONFUSION

Meanwhile, at Ntusi Primary School in Lwemiyaga county, voters refused to cast any ballot after it emerged that the ballot papers for directly elected MP had not been sent. The polling station is one of six others in Lwemiyaga that missed out on ballots for the directly elected MP.

According to the incumbent MP, Theodore Ssekikubo, a police truck that carried the materials disappeared along the way from Sembabule to Lwemiyaga and when it resurfaced after about five hours, materials for Kirama, Ntusi Primary School, Kazooba A, Lwemibu, Mageege and Kinoni were missing.

“The returning officer released the truck at about 6:45pm  [on Wednesday] and I trailed it but along the way, it disappeared only to resurface after 11pm,” Ssekikubo told The Observer yesterday.

The journey between Lwemiyaga and Sembabule district headquarters ordinarily takes about 45 minutes. Ngonzi however refuted claims the truck disappeared and told The Observer that Ssekikubo must have lost sight of the vehicle when the driver stopped at one of the trading centres along the way to have lunch.

“It had three police escorts and because the driver was hungry, he stopped to have lunch. Hon Ssekikubo didn’t see them and he drove directly to Lwemiyaga. He afterwards called me and when I called them to find out where they were, they told me that they had stopped to have lunch, “ Ngonzi said.

VOTING DELAYED

In Masaka municipality, voting did not start until 10.00 am at most polling stations. As early as 6:45am, former Buganda Katikkiro Joseph Mulyanyammuli Ssemwogerere had arrived at Town Yard polling station in Masaka Municipality to witness the opening of the voting exercise.

But he had to wait for nearly two hours before he could cast his vote because he felt it he had to fulfill his civic duty.

“I will wait until the polling station opens and I hope that the EC will extend the voting time because if it doesn’t then it will have discredited its own exercise,” Mulwanyammuli said.

At some polling stations such as Kakukuulu, the materials arrived after midday. They had reportedly been taken to Sembabule.

At Kirumba health centre in Masaka Municipality, Timothy Ayebare, an election official, announced that the serial numbers on the ballot papers were not matching but asked voters not mind the anomaly.

Less than a metre from Ayebare’s desk sat agents of the NRM candidate. One of them was seen by this writer aiding elderly voters to vote until Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga, complained that the voters were being “guided” to vote for a particular candidate. The NRM agents were ordered away.

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