Uganda: We Mustn’t Have Repeat of Bundibugyo Clashes

The recent post-election clashes in Bundibugyo that happened over the weekend left six dead, including four children and a pregnant mother. Others were injured and taken to hospital. Ten houses were burnt and many people fled their homes, seeking refuge at Bubukwannga Transit Camp and Kakitara Sub-County headquarters.

There has been heavy police and army deployment in various villages in the district and the Rwenzori regional police commander, Mr Dennis Namuwoza, says the situation is under control as a search for the perpetrators was on. While it is good to note that the police and army are trying to keep peace in the area and prevent further violence, some questions must be answered.

Effort must be put into finding out what made the perpetrators kill children as young as three years. The police say the clashes stem from contradictory announcements by the district returning officer. On the day of the polls, February 24, Dan Nayebale announced Jolly Tibemanya as the winner of the LC5 polls. But on Thursday evening, Mr Nayebale reversed the announcement and stated that Ronald Mutegeki was the winner. Clashes between supporters of the two ensued, claiming innocent lives and property.

In carrying out investigations, the police should find out what caused the change of results so suddenly and a whole day after. What were the circumstances under which different results were read? Had an appeal been made by the aggrieved party? Was there vote recounting, and if so, did the Electoral Commission sanction it and were both parties made aware of it?

Investigations in this matter should not be taken lightly as it has ignited a potentially dangerous problem. If the problem is not settled correctly and those who meted out the violence are not brought to book, the clashes might continue and we shall see more innocent people die.

Elections are still going on. We have polls for chairpersons, directly elected councillors and Women councilors for Municipality and Kampala Capital City Divisions, councillors for PWDs, older persons and Youth to District Councils and Kampala Capital City Authority, chairpersons, directly elected councilors and women councilors for Municipal Division, Sub County and town Councils and many others yet to be carried out. The final polling day is March 10.

The Electoral Commission needs to make sure their officers are up to the task and do it well, while the police need to ensure security across the country, otherwise we might witness more of such clashes.

The issue: Election disputes

Our view: The Electoral Commission needs to make sure their officers are up to the task and do it well, while the police need to ensure security across the country, otherwise we might witness more of such clashes.

Source: All Africa

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