The Mbarara Chief Magistrate’s Court has thrown out an application for a vote recount filed by Hygin Twogyeirwe Kururagire, the loser of the LC V Chairperson election. Kururagire had sought a recount of votes from 46 polling stations. He ran to the chief magistrate’s court for a vote recount after losing to his soul rival, Didas Tabaro Tumwesigye in the January 20th, 2021 polls.
Mbarara District Returning Officer, Betty Komugyereko declared Tabaro the winner of the polls with 20,583 votes against 18, 564 votes garnered by his rival. However, Kururagire through his lawyers of Arinaitwe Law Advocates petitioned the court for a vote recount, saying that it is impossible that his rival garnered the said votes. He explained that the final tally was arrived at due to poor addition of votes, miscounting of the votes cast and poor recording of results at various polling stations.
He also complained that his polling agents were left out of the tallying process and that the final tally doesn’t reflect the will of the people of Mbarara District, which can only be rectified through a vote recount. “Kashari North County alone has a total number of about 46 (Forty-Six) Polling Stations and I contest the results from all polling stations in Kashari North be and that is the area I believe where a vote recount should be done for all the polling Stations. I am reliably informed by my agents in all the said polling, which information I believe to be true that they were denied a chance to participate in the final tallying and recording of results and as a result the results declared do not reflect the true wishes of the people,” he said.
Tabaro’s lawyer, Lydia Ahimbisibwe of Ahimbisibwe Co & Advocates who also represented Electoral Commission-EC asked the court to throw out the application with costs, saying that the applicant didn’t present evidence to justify a vote recount. She also faulted the applicant for failure to mention specific polling stations in Kashari North where the vote recount should be done.
She also said the applicant failed to inform the Electoral Commission through the District Returning Officer before transmitting the results and declaring the winner where the tallying was fraudulent and his intention to contest the results as provided for in section 58 of the parliamentary election act. In his ruling, the Mbarara Chief Magistrate, Samuel Twakiire concurred with Ahimbisibwe’s submissions.
He said that section 58 of the Parliamentary Elections act provides that where the returning officer receives notice of a recount under section 55 of the same act he or she shall delay the transmission of the results until he or she receives from the court a certificate of the results of the recount.
He also said that the applicant failed to present proof that his agents were forced to sign the results declaration forms.
Kururagire told URN shortly after the court decision that he was dissatisfied with the ruling and promised to petition the high court. This was the second time Kururagire and Tabaro were facing off.
Tabaro defeated Kururagire in the NRM party primaries last year. He petitioned the NRM party Electoral Commission and lost prompting to run as an independent candidate.