Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has suffered a setback after the ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM), lost an MP seat to an independent candidate.
Mr Kassiano Wadri, an opposition-leaning independent candidate, on Wednesday won the Arua Municipality by-election from prison.
He was locked up after police linked him, four MPs and journalists to the bloody violence that rocked the last day of vote chase on Monday, chaos that claimed the life of MP Bobi Wine’s driver.
Mr Wadri was declared winner of the poll marred by violence and missing names in voters roll with 6,528 votes— representing 38 percent of votes cast.
His win is a big blow to Mr Museveni’s party, which won the seat in the 2016 General Election.
The seat fell vacant after area MP, Ibrahim Abiriga, was violently assassinated in June.
In the Wednesday election, NRM’s candidate Nusura Tiperu came second with 4,763 (27 percent of votes cast) despite Mr Museveni campaigning for her on Monday.
Another independent candidate Robert Ejiku came third with 2,703 votes while Bruce Musema of Kizza Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change was fourth with 1,372 votes.
The poll preceded by bloodshed was marred by violence, with some candidates complaining that locals voted under duress.
Their claims followed heavy deployment of security forces, including the army, who patrolled the streets and polling stations.
“I exercised my right to vote, but the turn up is not what we expected because people felt intimidated,” Democratic Party candidate, Mr Kennedy Madira, told Daily Monitor.
“The situation is a bit tense because sometimes they intimidate so that people get scared of voting.”
Arua Municipality Mayor Issa Kato escaped lynching by a mob who pelted him with stones that severely damaged his car.
The mob accused him of trying to rig the election but he was rescued by police.
His damaged car was taken to Arua Police Station.
Mr Kato denied the accusations and said he was an innocent victim of mob action.
“I was attacked as I was coming to vote. This time, the registers had been changed because I also found some chaos at Kebir Cell resulting from those who did not find their names [in the register],” he said.
“Immediately I came out of the vehicle, I saw a group of voters shouting that I have come to steal votes. Then they started pushing me.
When I tried to enter the car, they started stoning me and slapping me. If the stone that hit the windscreen landed on me, I would be dead.”
By 2pm, he had not voted.
“If Museveni’s car can be stoned, what about me? This has not been the habit of voters in the municipality. The opposition thinks that they can win through riots. Getting victory is not by force. I cannot work with somebody whose supporters were stoning me [if he wins the election].”
At Oyoo Ze polling station, voting delayed because the biometric machine operator did not show up.
“We could not establish the reason why he did not show up. We had to agree with the candidates’ agents to select a new biometric machine operator,” said the presiding officer, Mr Mansur Chiriga.
In other stations, voters were turned away after their names missed in the register.