“Our Vote Doesn’t Count” – Voters Say as Many Shun Local Gov’t Polls in Wakiso

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Voters in Kira Municipality and Kasangati Town council, two of the constituencies that overwhelmingly voted for National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, have shunned the district chairperson and Councillor elections.

At a number of polling stations that URN has visited such as Luteete, Magere, Kasangati, Gayaza, Nakwero, Kungu, Buwaate, Najjera, and Kira, among others, the voter turn-up is extremely low compared to last week’s presidential and Parliamentary elections.

At Luteete polling station, voting took long to start as the mandatory five voters that must be present before the box containing the ballot materials is opened had not come until about 8:15 am. Voting by law is supposed to start at 7 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. 

Moses Mutegesi, a councillor at Kira Division who was found at Kungu polling station after casting his vote said that people have shunned these elections because they are still grieving the loss in the presidential election.

Mutegesi implored the Electoral Commission moving forward to schedule local council elections first before parliamentary and presidential elections. “If they start with presidential elections people get disappointed and they don’t turn up to vote for other local leaders,” Mutegesi said.

Joseph Kintu, a polling agent of Namutebi Milly who is contesting as a woman Councilor for Kira Ward said he was disappointed that people were not turning up to vote. Like Mutegesi, Kintu blamed this on the disillusionment that Kyagulanyi voters have after losing the presidential elections.

He called upon the government to always declare public holidays, for days on which people are voting for their leaders at all levels.  

At Najjera Polling station, Festo Kibuuka, a councillor candidate at Kira municipality blamed the Electoral Commission for failure to sensitize people about other elections that are yet to be held. He also blamed the disappointment that Kyagulanyi supporters have for the low turn up of voters. Kyagulanyi defeated Museveni in Wakiso district with 74.85 per cent of all the valid votes.

Some voters who reside near polling stations whom we spoke to and said they have not voted and neither were they going to, hinted that “there is no reason to vote.” One of such people is Jamida Nabukeera who said she didn’t even know that today was polling day for district leaders. She thought they were electing Municipality mayors.  

Last Saturday, the Electoral Commission declared NRM candidate, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as president-elect having defeated Kyagulanyi with 5,851,037 votes representing 58.64 against 3,475,298 votes representing 34.83 per cent. For today’s elections, stiff competition is between the current Wakiso district chairman Matia Lwanga Bwanika of the National Unity platform, Nsubuga Simon Mujambula of DP and Moses Mayanja of the NRM. 

URN