Kampala Polling Stations Overwhelmed by High Voter Turn Up

885 Views Kampala, Uganda
Voting at a polling station in Rubaga Division, Kampala, almost didn't take place today because of a dispute over the use of furniture. Election officials at Golden Primary School polling station in Lungujja were setting up for work early this morning when the school directors stormed the site. The officials were told to immediately return to the classrooms all the benches and chairs being used in the polling station. Both the voters and presiding officers were shocked by the vehemence of the Golden Primary School administrators. They said it had been known for several months that the location was to be used as a polling station and wondered why there was so much opposition to it. After some negotiation and a considerable amount of arguing, the polls were allowed to proceed as expected. Another unusual event was registered in Rubaga Parish, where the electoral official, Fred Mwesige was left with three ballot boxes and nine box covers after he had distributed all election materials to the polling stations. He says he cannot explain the strange excess. These events have done little to deter the hundreds turning up at polling stations throughout Kampala. Amidst them are numerous election observers from the major political parties and from civil society organizations, ensuring that the voting is transparent and no underhand activity takes place. At Kisaawe polling station, which is located at the Makindye Division headquarters, the election observers were able to spot a few cases of irregular voting. Kato Hussein Sonzi was arrested for voting as Kato Hussein Lubega. He is in police detention and will be questioned when the polls close. In addition to this, Abdul Karim Kasozi, a Justice Forum monitor at polling stations just outside Makindye Military Barracks, claims that he has witnessed underage voters, dressed in military uniform, participating in the elections. He says the boys who are between 15 and 16 years were noted and their cases will be forwarded to the Electoral Commission for review. At Mubarak Zone, not far from Makindye Military Barracks, a local council official had to step in to personally organize the elections because presiding officers were more than one hour late. The LC, Lameck Yiga, says the crowd of people turned rowdy because of delays in delivering elections materials. He addressed them, calmed them down and organized them into orderly lines to await the arrival of the ballot boxes and papers. Election observers from the Netherlands who are on the scene say that despite the delays, the polls are well organized. They are however concerned that some people may not get a chance to vote because the polling stations are overwhelmed by the huge turnout. ###