MBALE: The results of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party flag bearer for the Mbale City Woman MP have been referred to the chairperson of the party’s electoral commission, Mr Tanga Odoi, for further scrutiny.
This came after Mr Boniface Wamunga, the district NRM returning officer, failed to declare the winner between two main contenders- Ms Connie Galiwango, the incumbent woman MP, and Ms Lydia Wanyoto, the chairperson of the NRM Women League last Friday.
Other aspirants in the race were Ms Jalia Namasaba and Ms Shadia Luwungule.
Ms Galiwango and Ms Wanyoto’s supporters both claim their candidates won the election.
Mr Sulaiman Barasa Ogajo, the Resident District Resident Commissioner, told journalists that the decision to refer the matter to EC chairperson was reached after consultation with party leadership.
Mr Ogajo, who also heads the district security committee, called for calm, and warned supporters of the opposing sides against engaging in unnecessary demonstrations, saying it might cause insecurity.
On Saturday morning, police fired bullets and tear gas to disperse supporters of Ms Galiwango, who had camped in Mbale City, demanding the declaration of the winner.
Rival supporters clash
Earlier, there was also physical confrontation between the supporters of Ms Galiwango and Ms Wanyoto at the tally centre at the city headquarters, which resulted in suspension of the declaration of the winner.
An NRM election official, who preferred anonymity, told Daily Monitor, that he had finished tallying and only remained with declaring the winner.
“We have the winner but due to prevailing situation, we have decided to refer it to Dr Tanga Odoi,” the source said.
Mr Emmanuel Dombo, the party’s director of communications, wondered why Mr Wamunga failed to declare the winner.
“I don’t know why they have failed to declare the results in Mbale and decided to refer it to Kampala but let us wait and see how the party headquarter will handle it,”Mr Dombo said.
Mr Yahaya Mwajje, the chairperson of Mbale Youth Council, who is also a supporter of Ms Galiwango, claimed the sub-county registrars were manipulated.
“All the sub-county registrars were manipulated and that is what has caused us all these problems. We want NRM EC to declare the rightful winner,” he said.
Ms Galiwango’s supporters also said Ms Wanyoto reportedly got more votes from the areas of Bukonde, Lwaso and Bunghoko Mutoto than the total number of voters in the registers in those respective areas.
However, Mr Wamunga said President Museveni’s directive of allowing everyone to vote was the reason why more people voted than the actual number in their registers.
Mr Siraje Wakaibo, Ms Wanyoto’s personal assistant, said their candidate won the race and asked Ms Galiwango to concede defeat.
“Ms Galiwango should concede defeat and support Ms Wanyoto. Ms Wanyoto supported her when she won in the previously primaries and we now expect her to do the same,” Mr Wakaibo said.
However, Ms Galiwango said she won but accused security officers and NRM registrars for altering the results. The EC officials and security officials, deny the allegations.
“Why are you delaying to declare me a winner? Most of the districts in the country have announced the results, what is special with Mbale?”Ms Galiwango asked.
Mr Jude Wandera, the Elgon region Uganda People’s Defence Force spokesperson, called for calm, saying the winner will be announced.
In Sironko District, Ms Asha Lumolo Nabulo Mafabi, the daughter of the area NRM chairperson, Mr Suleiman Lumolo, defeated the incumbent Woman MP, Ms Florence Nambozo, after garnering 37,644 votes. Ms Nambozo got 30,649 votes.
However, Ms Nambozo protested the results, saying the elections were marred by irregularities and should be cancelled.
The declaration forms were doctored and this election has not been fair,” she said.