When morals sink so low as is in the case for a number of people in responsible positions in Uganda, it is a very unfortunate development. If you are in charge of a polling station, how do you allow for ballots to be mishandled? There are candidate representatives, name it, but how do people expect to balance when there are ballots from other source? If you have 430 voters who turned up for the voting, and you end up with 453 ballots in the ballot box, isn’t that a big shame to the whole system. It is sad the way everything has degenerated in Uganda during NRM time. The degeneration is worsened when the Electoral Commission is always on the side of NRM where the big people clearly show that they favour a given candidate of NRM. The people in the running of Uganda MUST know that this is the degeneration for which reason among others; leaders should strictly have fixed term. The Uganda developments are a real shame because even when the leaders are wrong, to them things seem normal! It is only the intervention of God that will return sanity to Uganda. Much of what is reported to be going on in Uganda on a number of fronts is a big shame, but the powers that be are so corrupted by material things and power its self that they throw shame a side and move on! My God, there are times I regret having been born a Ugandan because what goes on is simply depicting the level of degeneration we have sank to as a country. It is sad and very unfortunate.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
KAMPALA POLICE CHIEF REPLACED AFTER CHAOTIC MAYORAL ELECTIONS
The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, has dropped Mr Andrew Sorowen as the Kampala Metropolitan Police commandant in what sources said was a fall-out in the aftermath of the messed-up Kampala mayoral elections last week.
In a radio message sent over the weekend to different units, Gen. Kayihura replaced Mr Sorowen with Senior Commissioner Grace Turyagumanawe who has been the deputy director of police operations.
Gen. Kayihura did not state reasons for dropping Mr Sorowen and did not indicate his new deployment.
The February 22 mayoral elections were marred by ballot-stuffing and violence, prompting a cancellation from the Electoral Commission. Over 100 people were arrested while a dozen, including journalists, were hospitalised after sustaining injuries in the melee.
A new date for election was yet to be announced although Mr Erias Lukwago, one of the candidates, accused the police of being accomplices in the scheme meant to help NRM’s Peter Sematimba gain victory.
Mr Turyagumanawe is no stranger to Kampala riots. While serving as Kampala Extra regional police commander, Mr Turyagumanawe led the operation against the Mabira Forest demonstration, which left about three people dead.
He also countered several other protests with loads of tear gas, before he was transferred to Karamoja region. His deployment, according to some sources, is seen as measure to counter suspected protests that may mark President Museveni’s fourth term in power.
Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba was unable to comment about Mr Sorowen’s removal, saying she was out of office.
Mr Sorowen is an Assistant Inspector General of Police, which means in the police structures he can only be deployed to head a directorate, but all are currently occupied by officers of his rank except the ICT directorate.
Senior police sources, who preferred anonymity because they are not allowed to talk to the press, said Mr Sorowen allegedly allowed Mr Lukwago’s supporters to access polling centres that had pre-ticked ballot papers in favour of Mr Sematimba.
“The junior commanders had got prior information from their superiors (other than Sorowen) not to allow Mr Lukwago’s supporters to stop voting despite irregularities but Mr Sorowen overruled them,” a source said.
Mr Sorowen attempted to resolve the grievances at the scene which exposed rigging in favour of the ruling party. This did not go down well with his political and police bosses.
He is the second senior officer above the rank of commissioner, who is put on the bench (katebe) in the past two months. Mr Moses Sakira, the deputy director of Criminal Investigations Directorate, was last month sent on forced leave over his handling of political cases.
Mr Sakira had reportedly delayed investigating a case in which Dr Kizza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change head, is alleged to have told people in the north that the government had sold off Lake Kyoga to South African investors.
By Andrew Bagala, Daily Monitor
GUIDELINES FOR MAYORAL ELECTIONS TODAY
Mayoral elections are today and the police has issued guidelines on the elections which were marred by violence and massive malpractice last month.
Police chief, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura issued a series of guidelines and some of these are the banning of vehicles carrying the so-called vote protection groups moving from one polling station to another.
Access to polling stations will be restricted to voters, agents of candidates and accredited observers, he added.
The Police boss urged the public to desist from committing offenses, especially violence, intimidation, campaigning during voting, voter buying, bribery, noise, drunkenness and threatening voters or election officials.
In addition, he banned fuel filling stations from selling petrol in jerrycans and polythene bags, and warned that under no circumstances should a candidate, campaign manager, agent or voter take the law into their hands.
“Any persons moving with sticks, pangas, stones or any other weapon, whether in vehicles or on foot, at polling stations, or in the city, are prohibited,” Kayihura said. He noted that such groups were unnecessary because it was the duty of the Police to protect voting materials, as well as voters. “While we welcome popular vigilance to supplement the efforts of the Police, it must be the agents of candidates and voters/supporters in the villages that should act as observers at respective polling stations,” he said.
Voters who wish to remain at a polling station after voting are only allowed to stand 20 metres away from the station. “Under no circumstances should they besiege the station, especially during counting. In any case, they are all expected to be peaceful and orderly,” he said and warned that any breach would be dealt with firmly.
“Anyone causing commotion or engaging in any act(s) of violence shall be dealt with very severely. Any hooliganism as was experienced at Bat Valley and at Kakeka polling stations during the failed elections, shall not be tolerated,” he said.
Kayihura said interfering with the electoral process, such as handling election materials as was done at Bat Valley, or obstructing election officials to do their work, was an offence. He urged the public to come in big numbers and vote, saying the Police would secure the exercise.
He went ahead and urged the public to look out for suspicious items and persons, saying terrorism still remained a threat.
New Guidelines For Mayoral Elections Today | Uganda Picks http://www.ugandapicks.com/2011/03/guidelines-for-mayoral-elections-today.html#ixzz1GZ22uETf
HOW THE JINJA RIGGING WAS EXPOSED
Kanusu, being whisked away from Jinja Central Police Station to Nalufenya regional police cell mid last year.
Posted Saturday, March 12 2011 at 00:00
The recent general elections were marred by various electoral offences like ballot stuffing and violence, as Pauline Kairu reports, one of the candidates for the LC5 seat in Jinja took matters into his hands. After getting to a polling station and sensing vote rigging, he destroyed election material. He broke Theodore Sekikubo's record, the Lwemiyaga MP who introduced kicking ballot boxes during the NRM primaries. But to what extent can one go to stop and expose a vote rigging machinery?
Robert Kanusu has showed cause. The Uganda Peoples Congress LC5 candidate for Jinja District in the just concluded general elections, grabbed headlines when he went to a polling station, sent ballot papers flying in the air before assaulting a polling official.
Mr Kanusu, a little known politician, turned a hero of Jinja residents when he was broadcasted on national TVs throwing about ballot boxes at Kayunga A polling station at Mafubira Sub-county headquarters in protest of what he described as a well orchestrated machinery to rig him out of a hard earned victory.
The story of rigging votes is not new in Uganda. But very few candidates in Uganda’s recent elections, have taken this course, save for Mr Sekikubo, and recently in the Mukono Municipality race where an NRM candidate, George Sentongo, repeated Sekikubo's antics at Ham Mukasa polling station in Mukono Town Council.
So when Mr Kanusu raged after he got to the polling station and reportedly found leaflets of ballot papers on the presiding officers desk even though there were no voters waiting in line, there are several people to identify with.
Mr Kanusu, a stark contrast of his usual self, accused polling officials of engaging in electoral malpractices in favour of the National Resistance Movement candidates. He rushed to the polling station after he was tipped by a whistleblower that the presiding officer, Ms Rachael Wakaisuka, was conniving with agents of one of the candidates to pre-tick ballot papers.
On arrival, Kanusu went wild after he found a voter with a blank LC5 ballot paper minutes after she had cast her ballot. Mr Kanusu had to be hauled out of the polling station by a supporter after things got out of hand with police threatening to shoot him.
Humble man turned symbol of outbursts
“The rigging was planned two days prior to the polling day and all the polling officials and the police were accomplices to the syndicate...just a mere polling agent sitting at the polling station could not easily detect the nature of rigging going on.”
Mr Kanusu, who jumped into the fray of politics five years ago when he contested for the same seat and lost to Mr Hannington Basakana, does not even remember the nitty-gritty of what was going through his mind when he threw the tantrums. “I was provoked,” he says, adding, “You know the problem is the institutional breakdown, and even though you reported to the police that someone is buying votes they will do nothing...in fact they are right there witnessing the irregularities taking place...now in such circumstances what do you do?”
The press secretary to UPC president Olara Otunnu, also a loser in the recent presidential elections, says similar electoral malpractices had been reported in various places but believes the police were an accomplice. It was probably this feeling of helplessness that led him to take the law into his own hands.
Later in the day after escaping arrest, Kanusu did not pick calls as he went into hiding. This is probably what his opponents wanted - by the time he came out the next day, he had nothing to save. However, another dramatic day was in waiting.
Second day of rage
If there was a dress rehearsal at the polling station, the real show was on February 24. As it so happened, the district returning officer, Ms Flavia Mujulizi, was to suffer more of Kanusu’s meltdown for what he believed to be deliberate delay of announcement of results. The otherwise soft-spoken opposition politician could take it no more after the tallying of votes entered day two.
Mr Kanusu burst into another thunderbolt as he unplugged equipment, including computers which were being used to convey results to the Electoral Commission headquarters in Kampala.
This was after Ms Mujulizi rejected his attempts to present a petition protesting the way the process was being handled. “What explanation can be there for Jinja EC office to bring back returns from sub counties at 4:30am when activity there ended as early as 6pm,” he questioned, suggesting that it was just a ploy for them to rig. “And when I put her to task to explain why she kept moving out of the tallying hall to talk to NRM officials and why she had been driven away by Balyeku (Moses- the MP elect Jinja West and NRM’s District chairperson), she told me she did not owe me any explanation.”
Mr Kanusu, who contends that the LC5 chairman elect, Mr Fredrick Gume Ngobi, was not even second according to his agents’ returns, says Ms Mujulizi was not following what was coming from the field but other orders. However, Mr Balyeku denies claims that he picked Ms Mujulizi on the night of the tallying of the results as alleged by critics. “Where those working hours?” Mr Balyeku asked in a telephone interview, “The only time I talked to her (Ms Mujulizi) was in her office and I was there on official business.”
Ms Mujulizi, however, said: “People must be crazy! I think they have problems of their own,” she said, adding, “I did not get out of the tally centre. If they are crazy, let them take away their craziness.” Mr Kanusu, who was later arrested that day and the winner Gume announced while he was in police cells, caused a storm in town after protesters demanding his release engaged police in running battles.
Calls off demonstration
Born on February 14, 1974, Mr Kanusu is a father of twins and a former journalist with the New Vision who resigned his job in 2005 ahead of the 2006 general elections. He describes himself as a man who is always very sober; the reason he had to call off demonstrations scheduled for February 28 after he reckoned the protests were going to turn out violent and people were going to lose their lives and property.
“The government had shipped all that military hardware for us. I had to protect my supporters,” he says. He might have lost in the elections after his NRM rival took the day but he surely left a mark on the way polls are manned. A section of voters in the area are still praising him for his display of bravery on the two days.
Mr Alton Magumba, a boda boda cyclist in Jinja Town, believes Mr Kanusu is a hero who defied all odds to fight for a just cause. “They think he is ill-tempered but to us he emerged winner for fighting for justice and democracy and expose the malpractices and corrupt system that the rest of us could not see,” Mr Magumba says. “He might have lost but we regard him as our chairman.” Though Mr Kanusu still believes that he was cheated of victory, he says it was actually the voters that were cheated and they should be the ones to seek justice, if any.
The resident of Budondo Kivubuka village, Kanusu says those pretending to be Busoga’s leaders were actually sycophants. “When I was still a journalist I would move around Busoga with Museveni and I felt pity on the Basoga listening to the people who regard themselves as the leaders representing them telling Museveni that everything was alright in Busoga and that Busoga was behind NRM instead of telling him the problems in the region,” he says.
Who is Kanusu?
Mr Robert Kanusu was born on February 14, 1974 at Jinja Hospital to Mr Ezekiel Kanusu, a transporter of cotton, coffee and other cash crops produced in Busoga and Ms Tapenensi Namulungu Kanusu of Kivubuka village in Budondo Sub-county.
His father was among the local pioneers of the cooperative movements which was to later become the Uganda National Farmers Union that later bore the Uganda Peoples Congress. He is the last born of 28 children born of different women. He went to Kivubuka Primary School and later St. Stephen Secondary School in Budondo. He, however, had to sponsor part of his secondary education after his father passed on in 1985; this he did by cultivating matooke and coffee at his father’s farm. A thing he accomplished so well that it earned him an accolade as the first youngest farmer in Uganda by the Uganda National Farmers Association and a passport to Nairobi for an agricultural tour.
In 1996, he joined Kiira College Butiki for his A’ level after which he entered Makerere University in 1997 to undertake a course in Bachelor of Arts in Arts (History, Literature and Divinity). He, however, could not complete his programme due to financial constraints following the introduction of the private scheme. It was at this point that he joined the media world, first working at the Daily Monitor as a free lance writer under the mentorship of Mr David Ouma Balikowa. Two years later, he moved to the New Vision as a Senior Features writer in Kampala and later transferred to the Eastern Region Bureau-Jinja.
Then, he jointly did a stint with Busoga University in Iganga as a PRO/marketing manager until 2005 when he quit both jobs to run for the LC5 chairperson’s seat in Jinja District. He lost. After the loss, heworked as an Information Architect with Uganda Home Pages Ltd, a website and internet firm.
On the lighter side, the father of twins is also the promoting officer and administrator of International Dragon Boat Federation based in Accra Ghana. The politician has also been the UPC president, Mr Olara Otunu’s, press secretary since his return into the country a portfolio he says he undertook naturally following sustained communications with the party president after he had decided to return from exile.