The two meanly guarded roadblocks be-tween the central Buwambo and Gongonya townships were depictive of the tense general election mood in Bombo town council last Thursday.
At Masjid Noor A with 505 voters and Masjid Noor B (with 526 voters) polling stations near the military barracks, the slow start in the morning continued well into the afternoon. At every moment in time, there were more polling agents and officials than voters.
The voters and candidate agents were very rattled on seeing the media and the residents were extremely unconformable talking to journalists much as there was no visible soldier in sight. Unlike most towns, in Bombo town council, there was no single campaign poster of the National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi.
In fact, there were just a few opposition campaign posters of Ishaq Muhamad Ntege who is standing for mayor of Bombo town, Hassan Kirumira Lukalidde who was standing for Katikamu South MP, Brenda Nabukenya who was standing for Woman MP Luweero district, Nanyanzi Shifrah Walakaira and Patricia Magala who was competing for the Katikamu South parliamentary seat. President Museveni’s campaign posters dominated every advertising space in the town council.
A little farther from Bombo barracks at Gangama mosque and Masjid Takuwa poll-ing stations with 685 and 250 voters respectively, there was at least a lot more election activity. If Bombo electorates were fearful of seeing cameras and the media, it was the opposite for the voters at Norah Junior School in Wakiso district.
The school was host to at least eight polling stations including A-KAR with 821 voters, KAS-L with 948 voters, M-NABAS with 795 voters, NABAT-NAKE with 800 voters, NAMB-NANTO with 807 voters, NAKI-NAMA with 812 voters, NANTU -SF with 803 voters and SI-Z with 704 voters.
From the naked eye it appeared like a massive voter turnout but none of the polling stations had more than 600 ballots cast.
At the end of the polling process, there were more unused ballots than used ballots. Each ballot book contains 50 ballots, but most of the polling stations only used seven ballot books. As early as 6 am, the voters were already at Norah Junior School polling station but the polling officials only arrived after 9 am, which momentarily created long queues but by 12:30 pm, all these had cleared and by 3:30 pm nearly everybody who’d wanted to vote had voted.
The entrance at Norah Junior School where the polling stations were, was dotted with campaign posters of Robert Kasule Sebunya who was contesting for the Nansana Municipality MP seat, Nsereko Ssebuliba who is standing for mayor and Hawah Mbabazi who is standing for Woman councillor.
Before the election, Sebunya struggled to get polling agents despite the offer of Shs 100,000. “Fee tetwagala Ssente y’ekibi (we don’t want to touch evil money) some of the youth who were approached to be agents said.
Eventually, one male youth offered himself and pocketed the Shs 100,000. At about 3 pm, some National Unity Platform (NUP) boda boda riders offered free rides to voters who had forgotten their voter location slips or their national IDs. At the gates, one had to sanitize, with the ‘free’ sanitizer offered by Ashraf Ssempiira who is standing for the councillor seat.
His agents made it a point to remind voters that they should return and vote for him later on January 25. They also did a great deal of guiding voters to the rightful polling station and this really helped quicken the process for both the polling officials and voters. The process was so swift that each voter was spending no more than five minutes.
VOTE COUNTING CONFUSION
Some EC officials insisted on starting with counting the Woman MP votes, then MP votes and later the president’s. But the pressure from the voters made them start with the presidential ballots.
From the cast ballots, it was essentially a race between Kyagulanyi and Museveni except for the occasional accidental two or three votes for Katumba or Amuriat. Also, the voters de-manded that Museveni’s votes be counted first and at all the eight polling stations, the most Museveni scored was 82 votes while Kyagulanyi scored no less than 240 votes at each of the eight polling stations.
Some agitated voters even blamed the market women for giving Museveni these many ‘unwarranted’ votes. At one polling station, Museveni scored just 11 votes. While every Museveni’s vote count was echoed with ‘fire’, Kyagulanyi’s every vote was counted by nearly everyone and cheers every time it hit the 50 mark.
At the polling stations, Kyagulanyi scored 295, 241, 340, 342, 439 and 320 while Museveni scored 47, 46, 49, 82, 47 and 11. At the polling station where Museveni scored 11 votes, the NRM agent disappeared without signing the declaration forms, forcing the NUP supporters to look for her. But police warned the NUP supporters against looking for her, saying she will raise it as the reason why she took off and might have the results disqualified.
By 5 pm, vote counting at least for the president was done at all the polling stations, and the celebrations began. NUP supporters lined on both sides of the roads cheering every motorist who responded with the People Power fist.
The army briefly came in but the people were too happy to even notice them and they left quietly. The women danced happily and even offered ‘free unlimited sex’ to Matugga men for defeating Museveni and minister Rosemary Sseninde in the election.
“Every time you say it’s women who vote and keep Museveni in power, this time we have not, blame Byabakama if Museveni wins this one,” one woman said.