Over 15 million to vote in Uganda’s February poll

Eng. Badru Kiggundu, Chairman of Uganda Electoral Commission released official voters' Register Monday.

Eng. Badru Kiggundu, Chairman of Uganda Electoral Commission released official voters’ Register Monday.

The Electoral Commission in Uganda on Monday released the country’s national voter’s register of over 15 million registered voters who will vote in the 2016 general elections at over 28000 polling stations around the country.

Copies of the photo-bearing National Voters’ Register were handed over to each of the candidates contesting in the 2016 Presidential Elections.

The chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Engineer Badru Kigundu said the purpose of issuing the Voters’ Register is to enable the candidates, through their official agents, to ensure that only eligible persons are allowed to vote during the 2016 General Elections and only at the polling station where they are registered as voters.

“The issuance of the Register will help to keep the candidates and other stakeholders, including the electorate updated on the status of registered voters and their voting locations,” he added.

This comes after the embattled Electoral body had issued soft copies of the National Voters’ Register to the Presidential candidates, as provided for in Section 18A of the Electoral Commission Act Cap 140. Several opposition political parties had expressed concern about the readiness of the National Voters’ Register for the 2016 General Elections.

“Candidates should mobilize their supporters who are registered voters, to prepare to vote in the 2016 General Elections. This Register, which bears the photographs of the voters, shall be the basis for voting during the 2016 General Elections. All those persons, whose particulars and photographs appear on the Voters’ Register, shall be eligible to vote at the polling station where they are registered, whether they have a National Identity Card or not,” Engineer Kiggundu stressed.

The commission also said that constituency Voters’ Registers are also available for other political parties/candidates, on application through the Secretary, Electoral Commission, and payment of relevant fees.

Engineer Kiggundu also condemned the violence that was reported in Ntungamo district, a stronghold of the ruling NRM, where supporters of Presidential candidates Yoweri Museveni and Amama Mbabazi clashed during a campaign meeting. Museveni has since ordered the Inspector General of Police in Uganda, Kale Kayihura to arrest his opponent’s “illegal militia.”

“Today, I am announcing it as IGP that militia moving with Mbabazi will be arrested, it must be dismantled. It was not for those people there would have been no incident I think,” General Kayihura vowed warning all candidates against recruiting illegal militias.

The weekend clashes which left over nine people injured are arguably the most physical since the presidential campaigns started following similar confrontations in Mukono,Hoima and Fort Portal.

Mbabazi a former ally of President Museveni earlier protested to the Electoral Commission over what he called the ruling NRM party provocation. The NRM Secretary General Justine Lumumba Kasule was forced to apologise for the Fort Portal incident where a helicopter painted with a massive Museveni poster landed at a venue of Mbabazi’s rally.

Ugandans will on February 18th vote for the President, Members of Parliament as well as Councilors.

Museveni, who is running for his fifth term as president, is facing off against Amama Mbabazi of The Democratic Alliance (TDA) and Forum for Democratic Change’s Kizza Besigye.