This photo taken on January 26, 2021 shows election officials recounting votes for Kalungu East MP seat which Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja lost to NUP’s Francis Katabaazi. Inset is Ssempijja and Katabaazi. The recounting was however cancelled after it was discovered that one of the ballot boxes had been tampered with. PHOTO/ GERTRUDE MUTYABA
By GERTUDE MUTYABA & Fahad Malik Jjingo
Masaka Chief Magistrate Charles Yeteise on Tuesday confirmed Francis Katabaazi of the National Unity Platform (NUP) as the Kalungu East MP-elect after cancelling a vote recount exercise when one of the ballot boxes was found to have been tampered with.
Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja on Monday petitioned Masaka Chief Magistrate’s Court seeking vote recount on grounds that his agents at the 25 contested polling stations were dismissed from the polling stations which gave a chance to Mr Katabazi’s camp to rig votes in his favor costing him victory.
Katabaazi’s attempt to block vote recount on Tuesday was failed after the magistrate dismissed his application seeking to stay execution of the recount.
However, during the vote recount exercise at Jude primary school in Lukaya town council, one of the ballot boxes was found to have been tampered with.
The seal of the ballot box had been broken and neither security nor the officials involved in the exercise and transporting the ballot boxes could explain how it happened.
It is against this background that the magistrate upheld the election results in which Katabaazi was declared winner.
Neither Mr Ssempijja nor his lawyers were ready to talk to journalists by press time.
Mr Ssempijja was however overhearing telling one of the officials that he didn’t know how the seal was broken “because the security that loaded the boxes [in the vehicle] made sure everything was fine.”
Source Daily Monitor.