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Voters not allowed to witness vote counting - Electoral Commission

Electoral Commission (EC) dispatching polling materials

Electoral Commission (EC) dispatching polling materials

After casting their ballots, voters will not be allowed to witness the vote counting at polling stations, the Electoral Commission has announced. Uganda goes to polls next week on January 14 to elect the president (11 candidates) and members of parliament. 

According to the Electoral Commission chairperson Simon Byabakama, only a few people like agents of candidates, EC officials and security personnel will be allowed at the polling stations during the vote counting process so as to observe the coronavirus Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). Byabakama made the remarks at a ceremony to dispatch polling materials. 

Byabakama says that although it is a right for people to witness the counting of votes, the few people that will remain behind will be enough to ensure transparency of the process. He claims that it is also dangerous to keep people of different political parties and supporters of rival candidates in the same area. As such, he advised voters to go back home immediately after voting.

"It is your right to cast your vote, but you see we’re saying in the Covid era now if you allow overcrowding in the area, then you’re exposing the people to what we’re preventing them from contradicting - when we said social distancing at polling stations. Can you observe social distancing during counting with that excitement? Secondly, we’re saying anything can happen to have the voters of Museveni, the voters of Amuriat, the voters Kabuleta, the voters of Katumba oyee all together. And when they see their candidate losing, they might start chaos," said Byabakama. 

According to the EC guidelines for the sake of transparency, voters have a right to attend and witness the process of counting of votes.  The Presidential Elections Act, 2005 says voters can stay at least 20 meters from the polling station.

‘‘Voters who have cast their votes and all other persons in the vicinity of the polling station other than election officers, candidates, candidates’ agents and observers shall stand or sit at least twenty meters away from the table." 

Rogers Bicwa, a polling agent for Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) presidential candidate Gen Mugisha Muntu says people need to protect their votes and ensure transparency during the counting. 

"That after voting you leave the polling station, the law talks about 20 metres away from the polling station. So you can’t tell me to leave the polling station after voting, I have to protect my vote. I have a right to stay at the polling station," says Bicwa.  

Paul Bukenya, the EC spokesperson also said voters who come to the polling station without masks will be turned away.


+4 #1 Juwait kali 2021-01-07 12:07
I hope M7, byabakama knows where you're taking this country to.

Neither you nor any other Ugandan will enjoy the after math of these fake selections. You will go to jail byabakama.
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+4 #2 Rwatoro 2021-01-07 12:35
Byabakama is on the orders of Muhozi Kainerugaba and Rutahabuwa.

If they are planning to steal the votes, they should think twice before doing that. We are ready to confront them decisively and escort them to Gisovu where they came from.
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+1 #3 Muna Biira 2021-01-07 12:58
Byabakama is a true definition of a scandalous cadre judge. see this: no journalist is allowed at the polling station; Why? no camera at the polling station; even now the military are destroying camera on the opposition campaign trail; Why?

Destroying evidence of the planned rigging. EC always shamelessly dictate against the law that no voter should witness the counting; Why?

no parallel tallying centre - targeting opposition yet NRM has also announced a tally centre. Remember in 2016 security goons set up NRM tally centre at Naguru which was coordinating with Kiggundu at the national tally centre at Nambole.

When Besigye reached there on being tipped, you saw on TV security vote thieves jumping over the perimeter wall and fled.
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0 #4 jose 2021-01-07 13:00
so that candidates' can be kidnapped, subdued or even beaten up without witnesses

Byabakama wants to enhance his so that he is the only witness seeing his mischief
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+2 #5 Musiime Benson 2021-01-07 17:24
I advise NUP not to set up a joint tallying centre with other parties, including Besigye.

I don't trust those men and the one woman. The moment NUP surrenders their evidence to these double agents you'll regret.

Haven't you heard Muntu attacking other oppositions during the campaigns that they have no integrity so they should not be trusted to lead the country?

Mao and Tumukunda also clearly do not trust NUP, FDC, etc.

In 2016, Mbabazi deceived all the parties to hand in their evidences for his lawyers to bolster the petition case in court. Armed thugs raided his lawyers’ chambers and looted all the evidences and the case collapsed.
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+1 #6 Miki 2021-01-07 21:41
Democracy dies in darkness. And the EC boss is sure creating darkness at the poll centers.
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0 #7 Byamukama Patrick 2021-01-08 09:06
I cant believe this election will be free and fair. What is the purpose of voting if you cannot gurd your vote?

If ugandans are not allowed to witness vote counting at their polling stations, how will they trust the out come?

I think this will bring chaos. Byabakama better wake up and change this for the good of our country, uganda. I hear you have alrealdy issued uncealed bullot boxes. This is a sign of foggery and ugandans we shall not allow such.
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0 #8 Kirya 2021-01-08 20:18
It is like saying you will not allow an accountant to look at your books meaning you are stealing company funds in other words m7 is ready to rigg the election at all cost
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