The public has been invited to observe hearing of NRM election petitions in Hoima district. Hoima NRM registrar Paul Kato says the approach is meant to ensure that residents have a say in decisions taken on electoral petitions in their area.
Kato says 12 petitions were received by his office following the recent party primaries at village level. Five of the petitions have been heard and decided on, with ordinary party members in the affected villages allowed to give their input. During the petition hearing process, the party registrar summons members in the affected village for a meeting, then the conflicting parties are called to make submission. Members are later asked to give their input and later vote on whether the polls in their village should be repeated or not.
Registrar Kato says this is done to ensure openness in the handling of these petitions, to the satisfaction of the ordinary members who took part in voting. Kato says he has used the approach in the areas of Buhanika, Bujumbura and Busiisi and it has proved successful.
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However, some Hoima NRM leaders are uncomfortable with the approach. Some say the approach only favours those with supporters present in the meeting at the time, while others hail the method for giving local party members a say in deciding on petitions.
Abel Kibakutaireho's victory has been challenged by his rival Fred Birungi. Kibakutaireho is the Kiduma village NRM Chairman elect in Busiisi Division. Birungi petitioned the district registrar accusing his rival of election malpractice. On Wednesday the petition was voted on by members during a village meeting, 33 of the members voted to have fresh elections against 15 who voted to uphold Kibakutaireho's victory.
Kibakutaireho protested the majority decision, saying the residents had been mobilized by his rival to vote in his favour. He vowed to go to court. Meanwhile Birungi hailed the majority decision, saying it was based on the facts he presented during the meeting. Registrar Kato says the elections in Kiduma will be repeated, as per the will of the majority.
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