Opposition NUP, FDC and JEEMA sign pact to end NRM ‘Thuggery’ in elections: FULL STATEMENT

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Leaders of Opposition political parties in Uganda have jointly signed a committment to form a united front to counter what they called “thuggery” of elections by the ruling NRM party in Uganda, as exemplified in the byelections in Kayunga, Omoro and Soroti East.

The leaders including National Unity Platform (NUP) Robert Kyagulanyi, former Forum for Democratic Change president and People’s Front for Transition leader Dr Kiiza Besigye, FDC chairman Amb. Waswa Birigwa, JEEMA president Hon. Asuman Basalirwa, Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga, and others also signed a statement condemning the NRM for using various organs of government to steal the vote.

“Now therefore, we the undersigned leaders, on behalf of our respective Political Parties and Formations, recalling the sacrifices of our people over the years, including thousands of Ugandans who died in the war that Gen. Museveni led ctaiming to fight against election rigging, do hereby make it clear that we shall not watch on as Gen. Museveni, aided by Byabakama, Nabbanja, Todwong, Tanga Odoi and their ilk continue to hijack the will of the people with impunity. The “What-can they do?” attitude must stop. Elections must be free and fair, short of which, they are not fit to be called elections.” part of the statement reads.

BELLOW IS THE JOINT STATEMENT IN FULL:

JOINT STATEMENT OF POLITICAL LEADERS, PARTIES AND FORMATIONS AGAINST THE BRAZEN THUGGERY OF ELECTIONS IN UGANDA AS
EXEMPLIFIED IN THE BY-ELECTIONS OF KAYUNGA, OMORO AND SOROTI

1st August,2022

Fellow countrymen and women,

The people of Uganda have for many years been irritated by the brazen rigging of elections by the Museveni regime. The past five general elections have been far from free and fair. At every election cycle, Museveni and his small clique of henchmen have continuously usurped the will of the people of Uganda, aided by the military, the Electoral Commission and all manner of state apparatus. The judiciary, which should ordinarily dispense justice in electoral matters, has not done so because it has been equally hijacked.

Be that it may, the various political parties and formations have continuously participated in these elections because of our firm belief in democracy and the rule of law as the most ideal means through which to achieve a peaceful transition for the nation, and change of leaders at lower levels.

Unfortunately, the quality of elections has now gone from bad to worse- each ‘election’ being worse than the previous one. Mr. Simon Byabakama’s Electoral Commission has proved itself to be the worst in the history of our country. The rigging and open-day thuggery, as exhibited in the by-elections of Kayunga, Omoro and Soroti is now done with so much boldness and ridiculousness. This demonstrates the crisis at hand.

Among others, these by-elections have been characterized b,y the following;

1. ln Kayunga, the’Electoral Commission supplied pre-ticked ballot papers to regime operatives. They arrested over 100 of Hon. Harriet Nakwedde’s polling agents and supervisors the night before and on election-day, in the hope of carrying out ballot stuffing undetered. Robinah Nabbanja went on a bribing spree, some of which was captured on TV. Despite all the ballot stuffing and violence, Hon. Harriet Nakwedde emerged winner with a difference of over 15,000 votes.

Shamelessly, the Electoral Commission announced the NRM candidate winner without any results. Contrary to the law, the EC refused to hand over a copy of the tally-sheet relied on to declare results at the tally center, because there was none. They gave themselves several days to doctor both the tally sheet and DR forms. The regime has since ensured that the election petition is dismissed on the most ridiculous grounds. The will of the people of Kayunga was usurped!

2. ln Omoro, the regime took advantage of the poverty stricken population and engaged in open bribery with items like soap and maize flour. Some people were bribed with as low as 2,000 UgX. Early morning on voting day, regime operatives working with crime intelligence moved from polling station to polling station arresting Hon. Toolit Simon’s polling agents and supervisors. By the end of the day, over 60 polling agents and supervisors {of the 84 polling stations} had been arrested! With the majority of polling stations not manned by the polling agents assigned, they had a field day stuffing. One Moses Kalangwa and sther thugs took over the election. Yet again, the Electoral Commission had supplied pre-ticked ballot papers to regime operatives who transported them in vehicles without number plates. Whoever questioned the open-day thuggery was quickly arrested and detained. Hundreds sf people were ferried from the neighboring districts to participate in the voting. Despite a very low voter tum up in Omoro, the Electoral Commission gifted Mr. Andrew Oulanyah with over 14,000 votes!

The Electoral Commission refused to avail copies of the tally-sheet and DR forms relied on to declare results, within the timeframe wlthin which to lodge a petition.

3. ln Soroti, police and the military spent the night prior to the election raiding homes of Hon. Moses Attan’s polling agents and supervisors. FDC leaders including the Party President were anested and detained in Dokolo and other districts. The Electoral Commission yet again, supplied regime operatives with pre-ticked ballot papers in favor of the NRM candidate, many of whom were caught red-handed by ordinary people and rescued by the police. Vehicles without number plates were deployed to transport the pre-ticked ballot papers.

Every leader who dared question or deter the ongoing ballot stuffing was quickly arrested and detained. Some polling stations were closed before time and all voting materials confiscated by regime officials. At other polling stations, the
residual ballot papers at the close of polling were all ticked in favor of NRM’s Ariko and thrown into ballot boxes before the sharn counting could start. At the tally-center, several false results were read. No tally sheet was provided to back the results. The Electoral Commission yet again conspired with the regime to rob the people of Soroti of their victory.
These are just a few of the numerous violations.

Now therefore, we the undersigned leaders, on behalf of our respective Political Parties and Formations, recalling the sacrifices of our people over the years, including thousands of Ugandans who died in the war that Gen. Museveni led ctaiming to fight against election rigging, do hereby make it clear that we shall not watch on as Gen. Museveni, aided by Byabakama, Nabbanja, Todwong, Tanga Odoi and their ilk continue to hijack the will of the people with impunity. The “What-can they do?” attitude must stop. Elections must be free and fair, short of which, they are not fit to be called elections.

Going forward, we shall jointly or severally use any upcoming elections to organize and rally the population to defend their democratic rights and end the election ‘madness’ that has bedeviled our country since independence. The current mega socioeconomic crisis is directly related to the population having no say on how their country and her resources are managed. It is therefore urgent for the country to focus on how to get out of the current crisis and to procure a transition to an inclusive, democratic dispensation.

Signed: Saddam Gayita PPP, Asuman Basalirwa JEEMA, Kyagulanyi Sentamu NUP, Kiiza Besigye PFT/FDC, Amb. Waswa Birigwa FDC, Lukwago Wrias FDC, David Lubongoya NUP, Nyanzi Fred Sentamu NUP, Lubega Samuel Mukaaku DP Block, Mathias Mpuuga NUP, Zahara Luyirika NUP, William Nzoghu FDC.

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