The opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has announced that it has withdrawn from the ongoing Bukedea District LC5 by-election over what it says is fraudulent electoral process.
On Wednesday, voters in Bukedea district turned out to different polling stations to vote their candidates for the position that fell vacant following death of the chairperson, Moses Olemukan in December last year.
FDC had fronted Sam Oita Odeke as their flagbearer in the election.
However, according to the statement by FDC president Patrick Amuriat, upon arrival of their agents at the polling stations at 6:00 am, they were disheartened to discover that the ballot boxes had already been tampered with.
“Shockingly, all the ballots had been pre-ticked, and the ballot boxes were already filled to the brim in most most polling stations. This fraud continued in all the remaining polling stations mainly aided by the police and army,” Amuriat said.
He adds that the party intelligence sources, discovered that the majority of these ballot boxes were pre-ticked from several schools around Bukedea and the Central Police Station on Tuesday night.
Amuriat further alleges that police and military participated in propagating the said malpractices.
Owing to the aforementioned malpractices, Amuriat noted that the party has decided to withdraw from the election, saying they cannot participate in a process that lacks integrity and does not represent the will of the people of Bukedea.
“Therefore, through this communication, we declare our official withdrawal from this sham ‘election.’ We have instructed all our polling agents, polling supervisors, and foot soldiers to withdraw immediately. We will not lend credibility or legitimacy to a process that is tainted by fraudulent practices,” the FDC president stated.
He added that FDC will now focus on determining the appropriate course of action in response to this gross violation of democratic principles and liberties of Ugandans.
“We remain committed to upholding the rights of the Ugandan people and fighting for a fair, transparent, and inclusive electoral system.”
Meanwhile, there have been reported cases of intimidation, torture and imprisonment of members of the media in their line of duty while covering the election.
Candidates in the race for the chairperson seat are; NRM’s Mary Akol, independent’s Pius Edekeny Lokwiisk Tychicus Ebukalin, National Unity Platform’s Paul Okiria and Salim Okwii of the Uganda Peoples’ Congress.