Low voter turnout, late delivery of materials hit LCIII Polls

There is low voter turnout in different several polling stations across the country.

Several stations failed to commence voting by 7:00 am because there were no voters to witness the opening of the ballot boxes. 

Up to 8:00 am, some of the polling stations in Soroti City had not opened. A similar situation was recorded in Mukono and Buikwe in Central Buganda, Ntoroko, Kabarole and Kyenjojo in Tooro sub-region, Luweero, Masaka, among others. 

At Baptist K, Soroti Prisons and Campswahili Mosque Polling Stations, only election officers were present at the polling stations. The first voters arrived past 8:00 am yet the voting materials were at the polling station by 7:00 am.

Jacob Epilu, the Presiding Officer at Campswahili Mosque says only four voters had shown up since his team arrived at the polling station at 6:40 am. 

Isaac Opus, one of the voters in Campswahili says some people have lost morale in the elections after their candidates lost in the first elections. 

Soroti City is conducting the residual election for division male councillors whose election was called off due to missing ballot papers on January 25th.

There was an early distribution of voting materials in most of the polling stations despite low voter turning up. Polling stations at Mukono Municipality and Lugazi Municipality in Buikwe have been ready by 7 pm.

Andrew Kagolo a resident at Mukono central division notes that most of the voters were only interested in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

“Some other voters travelled from distant places of their workplaces for only presidential and they are not interested in the lower local elections. Some others their favourite candidates did not win and lost hope of turning up again.” Kagolo notes. 

Mark Muganzi Mayanja, the Returning Officer for Mukono district says they have had the capacity of delivering voting materials in time before appealing residents to turn up voting.

In Kyenjojo, at Kasiina B and Kyenjojo secondary school polling stations, there were no voters and polling officials had not yet turned up by 8:00 am. It was not different at several polling stations in Ntoroko district including Karugutu Christian Fellowship and Kyabandara primary school. 

As one way of improving on voter turn up, the Electoral Commission on Tuesday sent text messages to registered voters, urging them to go to their polling stations and vote.

In Ngora districts, some polling stations had high voter turn up by 7:00 am. At Okorom Polling station, 30 people including two candidates had cast their votes by 7:37 am.

In Entebbe Municipality, there was a delay in the distribution of election materials. None of the 74 polling stations was open by 7:30 am mainly because polling materials had not been delivered yet.

For instance, at Mayor’s Garden and Katabi-Busambaga with over 10,000 registered voters, over 50 voters had turned up at the polling stations by 7 am while polling agents and polling officials arrived between 6 am and 7 am.

In Jinja district, ballot papers were delivered to different polling stations under tight security.

Unlike in the previous elections where there was heavy deployment of the army and police, today’s election is manned by Special Police Constables- SPCs and other Police Officers patrolling different electoral areas.

Some polling stations in Nansana Municipality, Wakiso district are missing out on the number of polling assistants assigned to them by the electoral commission.

Daphine Tumwikirize, a DP polling agent at Praise Academy Junior School says that out of the five polling assistants they expected, only four had turned up by the time casting of the votes started.

In Luwero town council, elections have been delayed at certain Polling stations over lack of recommended voters and failure of BVV machines to start.

The most affected polling stations were Luwero Islamic Mosque A and N-NAK polling where BVV machines failed to start leaving 30 voters stuck in the line.

It took the intervention of the Election supervisor for town council Amiina Sempa to rush at the polling stations with a technician to fix them before they started elections at 8;30am. The delay affected about 30 voters who had turned up to cast their votes and start work.

Sempa later told URN the matter had been fixed and all polling stations had started to work

In Masaka district, the sub-county and town council elections at several polling stations in Bukakata and Buwunga Sub County, by 08:40 AM voting had not yet started and the Presiding Officers, the polling Constables and candidates’ agents were only looking at the delivered voting materials in frustration.

At luvule, Mazinga and Kajuna polling stations, the presiding officers were yet to open the ballot boxes after they failed to the required number of five witnesses to begin the voting process.

In Kitgum, elections of Municipal Division Chairpersons and Councilors kicked off late in most polling stations. The delays were due to late deliveries of poling materials and absence of voters to witnesses ballot box opening at polling stations.

At three polling stations within Pandwong, Pager, and Central Divisions, voting hadn’t yet kicked off by 8:40 am. At Upland Polling station in Pandwong division, the presiding officer Innocent Okot told Uganda Radio Network that the materials were delivered late by 8:00 am.

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