Makerere University Student Arrested for Disorganizing Polls

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Policemen manning the center were seen collecting the ballot papers that were strewn all over the place. Bukamba Nelson, the electoral commission General Secretary said despite the scuffle, the voting continues normally because all ballots have been secured.

Police have arrested one Joshua Mbagoyire, a second year student of Education in Makerere University for disorganizing the guild election at School of Education.

The student, alongside several others beat tight security at the university to steal a ballot box and throw out ballot papers before fleeing. He was arrested moments later.

An eye witness Abdul Magambo one of the students at Makerere University said the student was a voter. "After approving his validity, as a voter… he went to the ballot box, picked the ballot papers and threw them away," Magambo said. 

Policemen manning the center were seen collecting the ballot papers that were strewn all over the place. Bukamba Nelson, the electoral commission General Secretary said despite the scuffle, the voting continues normally because all ballots have been secured.

"The students ran away but since the place was covered by police, they managed to take the ballots back in the boxes and we are waiting for evening time to tally and verify  if the ballots were tampered," Bukamba told Uganda Radio Network.

The school has two polling stations with a voting population of 1900 students. Both centers are heavily guarded by police and military personnel who deployed as early as 6am to secure the place ahead of the polls.

Today's voting seeks to end an impasse in the students' guild leadership. This follows a June 2, court ruling by Justice Stephen Musota which upheld a tribunal ruling for fresh elections to be held at the School of Education after irregularities that occurred during the initial election held on March 11.

The tribunal had in a March 22 letter ruled that the results from the School of Education be set aside and fresh elections be held. But Bazil Biddemu Mwotta, one of the candidates in the disputed elections petitioned court seeking its powers to declare him winner and to block fresh voting.

In this application Mwotta sued his opponent Roy Ssembogga and the university's Elections tribunal.  During the March 11 elections, Mwotta got 1,700 votes from the School of Education while his rival, Roy Ssembogga, managed to get a paltry 64 votes.

But Ssembogga accused the presiding officers at the school of breaching electoral rules. He complained about the beating and chasing away of his agents from polling stations and duplication of voter registers. He cited inconsistencies in the declared results and insisted that 1,000 people couldn't have voted within a space of 8 hours. Mwotta is a student in the school.

The dean of students Cyriaco Kabagambe who is also the secretary to the Guild Election Petition Tribunal, noted that there were some anomalies with regard to the electoral process at the School of Education, and ruled that "the voting in that School should be repeated."

On March 23, however, as students prepared to vote, there was chaos at the school and despite the heavy deployment by police, voting could not take place.

As a result of the controversy, the university has been without a guild president since March, 2016 when the disputed election failed to produce an acceptable winner.