Inside the Entebbe NRM youth election chaos

By Jamirat Nandawula

The repeat of the youth election in Kiwafu ward, Entebbe Division B ward on Tuesday morning turned rowdy as some NRM youths worked hard enough to halt the elections. The struggling saw the electoral process end prematurely for the third time as only three of the nine seats were elected.

The elections were first held on September 2nd, reorganized the following day, September 3rd as disruptions from NRM youths, led by Joushua Kuteesa the NRM youth chairperson and the chairperson division B Mariam Nalwoga continued. They were accusing the electoral commission team led by Steven Buwembo of electoral malpractice.

On the third instance, the youths not only chanted slangs praising their party, but also broke into the Division B offices, breaking all windows before the officer in charge of operations at Entebbe Police Station Alex Oloya would disperse them all.

This prompted Police and the Division B Chairperson Stanely Namayilira to immediately force the electoral process out of the office premises, for fear of further damage to be caused by the rowdy youths.

At the time, three youth leaders, all from the Democratic Party had been elected. But would the NRM youths protest instead of engaging in a peaceful election?

Information reaching Entebbe Post indicates that the NRM team, in Kiwafu ward only had a handful of voters, a number much less than the number their major opponents, the Democratic Party had.

“You see in youth elections, each stage determines the next. When you get a lesser number of delegates who vote, your party might lose out. So you fight hard to ensure that you either win or ensure that voting doesn’t take place until you get the required number of voters,” a source within the NRM camp indicated.

During the electoral process, Entebbe Post established that the Democratic Party had 25 voters while NRM had 19 votes. “With this, we knew we would fail and decided to resort to plan B which was violence,” an NRM supporter said.

Deputy Mayor Richard Ssekyondo being pushed in a Police Van. PHOTO BY GSA

At that moment, a team of youths, clad in NRM party colors shabbily dressed, with jerricans started a shouting on top of their voices calling off the electoral process, prompting further Police deployment. On the sidelines, NRM mayoral candidate Micheal Kabwama Nyamayaalwo was giving directives on how the violent process would be handled.

“Many of them were drunk. They tried as much as they can to ensure that they preempt DP supporters including Aloyo Daisy and Ahmed Bawonga Kasawuli into a fight. However the cadres remained calm.” Richard Kasule, one of the observers told this website.

During youths elections, each youth leader, from the village to the National level, including contestants in the youth MP race work tirelessly to ensure that they get a higher number of delegates who would vote for them and thus the chaos.

“This is an electoral college. When you have a higher number of delegates, the better,” says Andrew Kiryowa, the Wakiso District youth chairperson.

In April 2016 during the Youth MP elections, voters in the Central, Western, Northern and Eastern youth MP elections engaged in fist fights tussling to ensure that each candidate wins.

In the central region, two NRM cadres, Arthur Katongole and Sarah Babirye Kityo had their supporters fight at Shir Patel grounds in Masaka municipality prompting then regional police commander for Masaka Maxwel Ogwal and Commander of the Armoured brigade Geoffry Ssemwanga to command men in uniform to quell the situation.

In Fort Portal, Minister Bright Rwamirama and Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde had their sons competing. “At the end, they had to use exercise amounts of money to ensure their children are voted. At the end, chaos erupted and Gen Tumukunde was injured.” Frank Ssemakula, one of the observers in the election noted.

“All these are just fighting for an electoral college and one with a higher number of people takes the day.”

In Entebbe on Tuesday, the NRM youths, according to Joshua Kuteesa the NRM youth chairperson for Entebbe told a close friend that if the election had taken place, NRM wouldn’t win the Division youth election prompting further chaos.

“These are not tenets of a good leadership. We need to ensure that instead of fighting hard to get delegates who just vote, we focus on getting the right leaders Entebbe needs so as to have quality leadership that promotes and stirs development,” said Nakyanzi Ritah Daisy, the DP secretary for youths.

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