The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has launched teams of polling agents who will ensure protection of their party flag-bearers vote in the forthcoming 2021 general elections.
Over 130 polling agents dubbed “presidential vote protectors” were on Wednesday flagged off to undertake the task of mobilizing support for Yoweri Museveni and ensure “safety” of his vote right from the polling centers to the national tally center.
The teams including NRM leaders mainly youths from across all regions of Uganda, have been undergoing training on how to handle the task. The NRM National Vice Chairman Al-Hajji Moses Kigongo flagged off the teams at the Offices of the NRM National Chairman in Kampala.
Kigongo told the participants that the NRM party is relying on them for victory in the forthcoming elections and appealed to them to show commitment and sacrifice for their country by delivering on their task.
“If you have not done anything for your country, this is the right time to do it and the country to gain something from you. Thats what we expect from you” Kigongo said. He assured the participants of the support from NRM but also implored them to first show commitment and love for the country and the NRM.
According to Mr. Saleh Kamba, the Head of Political Intelligence in the office of the NRM chairman, the participants are part of president Museveni’s vote-protection program and are expected to oversee the selection and training of the party’s polling agents across the country.
During the training Kamba said, the participants were taken through the polling process right from when polling centers open for voting on voting day, up to transmission of results to the National Tally Center in Kampala, with a motive to ensure the process is free of malpractices.
Among other roles the “vote protectors” will undertake is to sensitize NRM members on the purpose of voting, witness the delivery of polling materials used on polling day, and observe the operation of the Biometric Voter Verification kit & ensure that the operator does not mess up the process. The vote protectors are also expected to report any case of malpractice at their posts to the District Coordinator for quick response.
After tallying has been concluded, the vote protectors will then use a motorcycle provided at the polling station and follow election officials who will be delivering electoral materials, up to the sib-county headquarters in order to eliminate tampering with polling materials.
The district teams at District Tally Centers will witness receipt of voting materials including Declaration forms and results, and compare the same with their data from polling agents, fill the data in tally sheets and deliver them to Kampala on the same day.
In his speech, Kigongo cautioned the participants to stick to their task and avoid bad behavior that can cause “problems” to NRM saying the country needs peace and not war.
“Please, we trust you and we will back you. Help us so that we don’t get any problem because our opponents are playing confusion… For us we want a very clean victory” he added.
Earlier at the event, the Deputy Director General for Internal Security Organization (ISO) Maj. Emmy Katabaazi, urged the participants to collaborate well with security in their area of jurisdiction and to select polling agents who are credible in order to ensure victory for NRM.
He said the polling agents are not only embarking on a national cause but also going to secure the interest of the continent. He assured the participants of support from security agencies but noted that they should “move to stop the forces of darkness and avoid a scenario of what happened in Madagascar where a DJ propped up by foreign powers was elected only to mess up the country”