Confirmed: Electoral Commission Says Arua Election Won’t Be Postponed Despite Monday Violence
Justice Byabakama Promises Free and Fair Arua Municipality Byelection
Uganda’s Electoral Commission insists it will hold a byelection in West Nile’s Arua Municipality despite Monday’s violence in which Yasin Kawuma Kawooya, a driver to emerging political figure and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, was shot dead.
Over 30 people, including legislators and former MPs, were arrested after clashes between fans and supporters of Bobi Wine of the camp of Kassiano Wadri, the former Terego County MP, a candidate in the byelection to replace slain MP Ibrahim Abiriga of Arua Municipality.
Police and State House accused Bobi Wine’s fans and Wadri’s supporters of hurling stones at the motorcade of president Yoweri Museveni.
Museveni, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) chairperson, was in Arua to canvass support for party candidate Nusura Tiperu.
In a statement earlier in the day, police spokesperson Emilian Kayima assured Arua Municipality voters of security ahead of voting on Wednesday.
Justice Simon Byabakama: We Won’t Postpone Arua Election
Byabakama has also confirmed voting will go on as planned.
He said the commission had assessed the situation after Monday’s chaos.
“After last night’s unfortunate episodes, as the commission that is responsible for managing this exercise, we took stock of the events in order to ascertain whether the ground is conducive for people of Arua to come and vote,” said Byabakama Tuesday evening.
It was after the evaluation that a decision was taken to continue with the election.
He praised the people of Arua Municipality for being peaceful during the campaigns despite chaos on the last day of the exercise (campaigns).
But he urged voters to shun political violence.
” I would like to congratulate the people of Arua for generally having conducted a peaceful campaign program. It’s unfortunate that at the last moment, some people decided to tarnish this record,” he said.
“It is very despicable and it’s upon Ugandans to fight political vandalism and thuggery.”
He also appealed for calm.
“The success of an election can’t entirely depend on the preparedness of the EC alone: it involves every stakeholder; we appeal to the people to remain calm, maintain law and order in Arua municipality,” he pleaded.
Byabakama also promised a free and fair election.
“We want to assure you that we’re prepared to do what we are mandated to do by law, to conduct an election that is free and fair, respect the decision of the people and pronounce what has been stated at the polling station.”
Candidates in the Arua Municipality Byelection to Replace Ibrahim Abiriga
The race has attracted 12 candidates:
- Bruce Musema (FDC)
- Nusura Tiperu (NRM)
- Kennedy Madira (Democratic Party)
- Jaffar Alekua (JEEMA)
- Jackson Atima
- Robert Ejiku
- Francis Nyero
- Kassiano Wadri
- Sunday Anguandia
- Alfred Nyakuni
- Simon Avutia
- Safi Bavuga.