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Independent candidates protest NRM activities in Ruhaama ahead of Thursday poll

President Museveni will on Tuesday, January 9, camp in Ruhaama Constituency to drum up last minute support for the flag bearer in a by-election slated for Thursday.

According to NRM party communications officer, Roger Mulindwa, the president who is also the NRM National Party Chairman, will address four rallies in a marathon exercise expected to start at 10am and last for seven hours.

Mr Mulindwa said a preparatory meeting held at the District NRM offices in Ntungamo on Sunday chaired by the Deputy SG, Mr Richard Todwong confirmed the President’s campaign program.

Also in attendance of the planning meeting was the Deputy National Treasurer Dr Kenneth Omona, Dr Hassan Wasswa Galiwango (Director Finance & Administration), Mr James Tweheyo (CEC Member) and Ntungamo District NRM Vice Chairperson Mr Asiimwe Rutahweire Evans among others.

Mr Todwong said the eleven Sub Counties that constitute Ruhaama Constituency had been zoned into four rallies.

“The first rally will be held at Kahija play ground in Nyakyera Sub County where two other Sub Counties of Ruhaama East and Rukoni West will converge at 10:00am. From Nyakyera, the National Chairman will proceed to Kirera playground in Rwoho Town Council for the second rally. This venue will also have Rukoni East Sub County residents,” Mr Todwong said.

“The third rally to comprise of Kitwe Town Council, Rweikiniro S/C, Kafunzo-Mirama Town Council and Ruhaama S/C will be held at Ruhaama playground,” he added.

The president according to Todwong is scheduled to conclude his day at Muriisa Primary School where both Ntungamo and Itojo Sub Counties will meet to receive him.

Ruhaama County was forced into a by-election after the seat fell vacant on November 4th following the death of Beijukye William Zinkuratiire. Beijukye, who had represented the constituency for just over a year, succumbed to Hepatitis B.

Meanwhile, Independent candidates in January 11, 2018 by-election have raised a red flag on what they call abuse of the electoral process by the ruling NRM.
They have cited increased voter intimidation, voter bribery and disregard of other candidates’ campaign programmes.
Ms Vastine Orishaba, an independent candidate, said she has written a protest letter to the electoral commission after the NRM team addressed a rally at the venue where she was also conducting campaign in Wechango town in Ruhaama Sub County on Friday.

A team led by the Ntungamo Resident District Commissioner Justine Mbabazi, the party vice chairperson Ivan Rutahweire, political assistant to First lady George Bakunda and Ruhaama sub county NRM chairperson Joseph Mukasa allegedly held a rally at Nyakika primary school less than 100 metres from where Ms Orishaba was holding her home coming rally.

She said the NRM candidate should be disqualified from the race because his agents disobeyed campaign rules. She had a team of Western Uganda artists including Lady Marriam and Gen Geon at the rally to boost his campaign.

“I had scheduled my rally and security was aware, this is my home and when we had just started, I saw the NRM people coming with their music sytem. They just put them at the primary school close to our venue.

Their system was stronger and louder thus blocking ours. This is a sign of disrespect of the campaign rules. The NRM candidate should be disqualified,” said Ms Orishaba.

Eng Mubangizi Jackson Kabikire, (independent), claims gross intimidation of his agents with some being forced to abandon his campaign side for the NRM while Dr Peninah Beinomugisha (Independent) has alleged use of money in the process by the NRM which openly buys voters and agents.

She called on electoral commission to address the matter at the ground level. Efforts to reach Ntungamo electoral commission registrar, Mr Robert Beine Robert for comment were futile by press time as he was reportedly in Kampala finalizing the process for the January 11 elections.

However, Mr Rutahweire said the NRM team was simply meeting agents and training them on electoral conduct.

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