By Derrick Kiyonga
Sworn affidavits for Mbabazi petition finger Gen Muhwezi, Nasasira over elections malpractices
In affidavits filed in the Supreme court on Friday to support Amama Mbabazi's challenge to the reelection victory of President Museveni, witnesses offer detailed descriptions of the alleged vote rigging, bribery and intimidation during the campaigns and election day.
In 60 affidavits obtained by The Observer, some witnesses accuse Jim Muhwezi, the minister for information and national guidance, and John Nasasira, the minister for ICT, of complicity in electoral malpractices.
In her sworn evidence, Annette Kyokunda, a resident of Kanoni village, Kazo sub-county in Kiruhura district, accuses Nasasira of intimidating and bribing voters. Kyokunda, a losing independent candidate for the Kanoni woman councilor slot, said that at several rallies she saw Nasasira urging voters not to vote for independent candidates because they had no place in government and that they shouldn't vote for Mbabazi since he was a "Nyamwegyendaho/Omuzaahe" (prodigal son).
Kyokunda further said that Nasasira publicly urged her to pull out of the race and also denounce Mbabazi.
"... That he [Nasasira] further promised to settle my expenditure in the campaigns so far incurred and a job slot anywhere I needed," she said.
Kyokunda said she told Nasasira at a rally that she couldn't denounce her candidature or Mbabazi. In response Nasasira told the rally that President Museveni had sent them "Akantu kanyu" (your small thing).
That the "small thing", according to Nasasira, was a token for supporting Museveni as a sole candidate and that they should make sure that Kiruhura, the president's home district, votes for him 100 per cent.
"That the said honorable Nasasira instructed all the chairmen present to go behind the tent and see his personal assistant, saying 'Bareeba Nandebba Neboth' who was paying Shs 250,000 per cell."
In her affidavit, Kyokunda claims that Nasasira emphasized that the money was sent to villagers by Museveni in order to vote for him.
"That two days later, I went to our village at the meeting place and found our chairman LC-I called Jerevasio Tumushabe apparently giving out Shs 2,000 per head with instructions that whoever gets the money should give his vote to candidate Museveni," Kyokunda says, adding, "That he [chairman] kept on saying that Kiruhura should not ashame him but should ensure that candidate Museveni gets 100 per cent."
On January 27, 2016, the day Mbabazi was scheduled to hold a rally in Kanoni, Kyokunda says that Nzeire Sadrack Kaguta, a younger brother to Museveni, blocked the only access road to the venue. That Nzeire who is also the NRM chairman for Kiruhura district, was aided by the deputy resident district commissioner and Kenneth Muwoozi, the Kanoni gombolola security officer (Giso).
"A scuffle ensued between me and Nzeire. I reminded him of the Ntungamo provocations and after about thirty minutes he unblocked the road," she says.
"That as a result they chased away people who were going to the venue and those who insisted had to use small footpaths to connect to the venue."
In his affidavit, Bishop Melekizeder Rugogamu, who was the coordinator of Mbabazi's campaign in Rukungiri district, says that on December 26, 2015 when he was headed to radio Kinkizi to campaign, he was involved in a hit-and-run accident. According to Rugogamu, he got involved in the accident after he was threatened by Muhwezi.
Rugogamu claims Minister Muhwezi told him he would be dead by voting day, February 18. Rugogamu alleges that his family wasn't spared. Anthony Mbabazi, his son, was also involved in a hit-and-run accident and was admitted to Lwanga hospital, he said.
Rugogamu says that on the morning of January 26, 2016 while he was at his home, he was arrested by soldiers led by Michael Ogwara, the police officer in charge of criminal investigations in Rukungiri and one Afande Mashemererwa on the pretext that he had committed treason.
"That after three days, I was taken to court and released on bail after being charged with the offence of inciting violence," Rugogamu, who has attached a copy of the bail release form to the affidavit, says.
Rugogamu, who voted at Karangaro A polling station, says that Muhwezi continued to utter threats that were broadcast on radio Rukungiri Voice of Development.
"That Emmy Ngabirano, the RDC Mitoma district that was campaigning for the first respondent and Honorable Jim Muhwezi threatened me and told me to wait for what will happen to me. That I would see on February 19, 2016," he says.
The bishop alleges that Medard Kyakashali who was in the running for the Rukungiri municipality parliamentary seat on the Go-Forward ticket stood down two weeks to voting.
He subsequently said that Kyakashali asked him to defect to NRM since party officials were ready to give him money. Separately, Erias Ruhangariyo, the presiding officer in Kyangwali sub-county, Hoima district, says that on election day, he received voting materials at 9am. Due to the long distance between the sub-county and Kyeyanja polling station, Ruhangariyo says he delivered the voting materials at exactly 1:30pm.
Though voting started at 2pm, the presiding officer says that at exactly 4pm he closed the polling much as voters were still in line.
"... Following the closure of the voting process, I started counting the votes and consequently entered the results in the declaration form," he says.
Having returned the results to the sub-county, he says that Nelson Atumanya, his supervisor, instructed him to tick the remaining unused ballot papers in favor of Museveni.
"That under the instructions and supervision of the said Nelson Atumanya, I signed the presidential declaration forms declaring candidate Yoweri Museveni with the most number of valid votes," he says.
David Sekitto, who was part of the security detail, says that while Mbabazi was campaigning in Lyantonde he saw four men in NRM T-shirts travelling in a Toyota Premio giving out Shs 10,000 to people to dissuade them from attending Mbabazi's rallies.
"That in Kaabong, I saw the local chairman who is also an NRM official together with army officials bribing voters with NRM T-shirts and [Shs] 10,000 each, dissuading them from coming to our rally," Sekitto alleges.
Duncan Mutogo, who was Go Forward's representative at the national tally center, says that in announcing the first provisional results, Badru Kiggundu, the EC chairman, did not avail agents with declaration forms. Mutogo says that Kiggundu did not give them the tally sheets indicating where the results he was announcing were originating from.
"That we did not do any tallying or see results coming in from the respective districts but merely heard what was being read and watched what had been uploaded on the computers and screens," Mutogo says.
That though the agents of the other candidates demanded to know the source of the data being tallied and announced, Mutogo says that Kiggundu just ignored them and proceeded to announce the second provisional results.
"That I can confirm that at the tally center, there were no results recorded on declaration forms and consolidated in tally sheets. Upon which the second respondent [EC] declared the first respondent [President Museveni] as winner," Mutogo says.
In his petition, Mbabazi alleges that at the national tally center, the candidates' agents were merely listening posts without any input since Kiggundu and the electoral commissioners would receive results purportedly transmitted from the returning officers. Mbabazi says that the EC officials would process and fix results and thereafter show to agents what they called results.
"From the above process, there was room for switching results when purportedly tallying and doing all malpractices of rigging to alter the final results," the petition says.
The legal teams of President Museveni, the EC and the attorney general are expected to file affidavits rebutting the allegations.