Election report from Northern Uganda

The election in most parts of northern Uganda was generally peaceful but characterize by military and police presence and late delivery of election materials. There were a few cases of violence and technical problems on the side of the Electoral Commission.

Otuke district
Otuke is a new district created from Lira District. On the day of polls there was noticeable excitement and great energy among voters. However the polls opened late in many polling stations. This included Adwari Sub County Okwang and Otuke Town Council. The delayed opening of polls was caused by the late delivery of election material and the onset of rains in Okwang Sub County.

In Abongorwot polling station in Orum sub county, election monitors did not turn up at the station, according to the presiding officer and no reasons were given. Between 50 to 70 could not vote at the polling stations because their names were missing. Others had to walk for long distances in order to vote. Violence was also reported outside the polling station and a woman identified as Christine was taken to health center after she was beaten on the head in a disagreement involving two supporters the rival candidates, Daniel Omara Atubo and Fr Jacinto Ogwal.

There was a heavy deployment of security in the town council, especially the police in the area that could have scared voters, although there was no confrontation reported.

Erute South, Lira Bistrict
This was one of the contentious constituencies in Lango Region, involving Lira NRM Chairman Sam Engola, incumbent John Odit and radio personality Okao Tema.

By observation, there was a lot of military presence in the sub counties of Amach and Agali and a lot of money was used in the run up to the voting. There was also vote buying on Election Day. No violence reported in the constituency on election day.

Oyam District
The release of the election results was delayed causing tension among voters and the candidates who were running out of patience. Election officials said the delay was caused by technical reasons. The registrar was put under pressure to declare results and many called on radios and threatened to hold protests if the results are not released. The results were later released on Saturday night.

Alebtong District
There was confusion when the NRM flagbearer Okullu Alex found his name had been changed in the ballot paper. The names instead read Ekullu Alex, an omission from the Electoral Commission. As a result he has rejected the outcome of the elections, which he lost. Presence of police was noticed around the polling stations.

Dokolo District
Many were arrested on accusation of buying votes as millions of shillings were intercepted by the police. Also 23 ballot papers were throw out after it was found allegedly “stamped” in favor of presidential candidate Dr Olara Otunu. The district registrar, Paul Warike said it was a printing error and the ballot papers had been replaced.

Gulu District, Acholi Region
A lot of intimidation and vote buying. The heavy deployment of soldiers and the police between, during and after election and the use of a lot of money, possibly billions of shillings by the state could have affected the election process. Missing names in the register had multiple occurrences and many people did not vote as a result. Late opening of polling stations was recorded in a number of places due to late delivery of materials. There was no violence reported.