Voting in Gulu Peaceful Despite Delays

1554 Views Gulu, Uganda
Polling stations across Gulu registered a late turn up of voters in today's elections. In several places across the district, voting didn't start until one hour after the official opening time. David Buti, the Gulu Returning Officer, insists that voting materials arrived on time and were distributed well in advance of the elections. At Madhvani Primary School polling station in Pece Division the presiding officer, Edward Santo, blamed the late start on the voters. He says there were not enough people at 7:00 a.m. to witnessed the opening of the seal for the ballot papers and the emptying of ballot boxes. //Cue in: "We should have..." Cue out: "...at 8:20."// One of the places affected by the late vote was Holy Rosary polling station where the Democratic Party presidential candidate, Norbert Mao, is expected to vote. Election materials and presiding officers arrived on the scene well after 8 a.m. However the voting delays were not widespread throughout Gulu. At Layibi Railways polling station, 12 people had cast their votes by six minutes past seven and 67 others were in line to vote. Jackson Okwera, one of those at Layibi, is pleased that he voted so early. He says he is optimistic that the elections will remain peaceful and will bring a meaningful change in leadership to the country. In Bardge Division at the Kaunda Grounds, over 70 people had cast their votes by 8 a.m. Many more were waiting in line. Deo Ocaya, an independent election monitor, says voting so far has been peaceful. //Cue in: "The voting process..." Cue out: "... to eight."// In the rest of the town, businesses, offices and schools are closed for the day. Peter Okot, a shopkeeper in Gulu town, says he didn't open for business for fear of the outbreak of violence later today. ###