Monday, 20 August 2012

Electoral Commission set to formalise Kiiza as Kasese poll winner

The background
Kasese District returning officer Kanzira Valley was on Saturday arrested over alleged fraud in the recently concluded woman MP by- election. Mr. Kanzira was arrested by detectives from the Political and Media Crimes Unit based at the police headquarters and Criminal Investigations Directorate, after alleged complaints of election fraud.
The Kasese Woman MP by-election, which attracted three candidates, was won by FDC’s Winnie Kizza who garnered 97, 669 votes, beating her closest rival, NRM’s Rehema Muhindo who went away with 59, 946.

The delays by the Electoral Commission in publishing in Ms Winnie Kiiza’s name in the Uganda Gazette as the duly elected Kasese Woman MP has ruffled feathers in Parliament, and also brought the elections body’s independence into question.
While the commission at first said it could not gazette the winner of the August 8 by-election because the Police had reportedly arrested their returning officer, Mr Valley Kanzira and his deputy and confiscated results declaration forms, they yesterday indicated they are ready to formalise Ms Kiiza’s election.
Mr Dan Mugarura, who heads the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s electoral department, yesterday said his party considers the inactions of the EC and the actions of police as being geared at “hiding their shame.”
“His work was to seat and receive information from the field officers and he did declare that in the presence of all his seniors. So what negligence of duty are they talking about here? ” Mr Mugarura asked.
Mr Mugarura said the NRM government’s loss in Kasese even with the scores of policemen and military assigned to “protect their vote” has been hard for the ruling party to accept.
Meanwhile, Mr Kanzira yesterday said he had submitted all the forms the commission needed to gazette the by-election winner although he refused to speak on record.
At the same time, EC spokesperson Willy Ochola confirmed that the needed materials are now with the commission and “probably Ms Kiiza’s name will appear in today’s gazette.”

“Possibly her name will come out tomorrow (today) because the Chairman already signed and sent them,” Mr Ochola said.
National gazettes are weekly publications which are printed every Friday, except in cases of emergency.
“There is no more need to panic by any interested parties because we now know the winner and we have sent the publication for the gazette,” Mr Ochola said.
Ms Kiiza could have taken her oath of Parliament yesterday during the special session held in honour of gold medallist Stephen Kiprotich had the name been gazetted a bit earlier.
This newspaper yesterday learnt that the EC offices were closely monitored by police for fear that the FDC officials were ready to hold a demonstration at the Jinja Road office.
FDC Secretary General Alice Alaso (Serere Woman MP) also told this newspaper that her party would have “acted otherwise” had Dr Badru Kiggundu’s EC not acted yesterday to unclog what was turning out to be a confusing situation with both the police and elections body issuing separate statements laying the blame for the fiasco at each other’s feet.
Mr Kanzira was arrested and later released on police bond and the opposition FDC party yesterday had suspicions that he may never be charged with the cases of fraud and negligence of duty being talked about.