The two rivals in the hotly contested National Resistance Movement (NRM) primaries for Rushenyi County, state minister for labour Mwesigwa Rukutana and Naome Kabasharira were both beneficiaries of ghost votes.
According to the NRM electoral commission, ghost votes have been discovered at one of the polling stations where elections did not take place.
At the re-tallying of votes for Rushenyi election, it emerged that Rukutana ‘received’ 172 votes against Kabasharira’s 141 at Nyakahika village in Rugurama sub-county, Ntungamo district.
But there was no voting at this particular polling station because the exercise was suspended due to a scuffle that ensued among supporters of both candidates.
Agents of both candidates Tuesday (September 15, 2020) engaged in a heated argument at the NRM electoral commission office in Kampala, with accusations and counter-accusations of who masterminded the irregularities.
NRM elections boss Dr Tanga Odoi said the Nyakahika saga was not part of the earlier petition the commission received.
He said investigations are underway to discover what happened at Nyakahika village.
“In the tallying exercise, we have realised that there was a Nyakahika hullabaloo. We shall not declare a leader; we shall declare a winner in two days’ time,” Odoi said.
Speaking from Kyadondo Road NRM office, Kabasharira and her agents confirmed that there was no voting at Nyakahika village.
“That is my sub-county and it is true that voting did not take place. We do not doubt the investigations into this matter, but we are praying that investigations are free and fair,” she said
According to Kabasharira, ghost votes were allegedly fabricated by her rival’s camp and should not be included in the re-tallying exercise.
“We have actually protested that they should do investigations because the registrar wrote a letter to that effect,” she said.
The NRM primaries, held on September 4, were marred by disputes over the register and vote counting in some areas.
Results in some areas are yet to be declared due to disputes, while in other areas, the exercise was cancelled.
There are 378 petitions filed by the losers who include some ministers.
During the primaries, Rukutana was arrested over accusations that he had shot at his rival’s supporter.
He was subsequently charged with attempted murder, aggravated robbery, malicious damage to property, assault occasioning bodily harm and threatening violence.