Uganda Peoples Congress


Miria warns of plot to rig polls

From The Monitor, January 15, 2006


There is a plot to buy voter card serial numbers from the electorate in a bid to rig next month's polls in favour of President Yoweri Museveni, UPC presidential candidate Miria Obote Kalule has alleged.

"There is a new trick our detractors are using; they are buying the numbers of voters' cards so that on the polling day, you find that your card number has been ticked and the polling officials would tell you that you have already voted," Miria said on Saturday afternoon.

The candidate made the allegations while addressing a campaign rally at Arua Town Boma grounds. "Do not sell the number of your voter's card because your vote is the power to lead us to State House," she said.

The Electoral Commission spokesman, Mr Okello Jabweli, said he had "heard" about such complaints informally before. "But tell the candidates making such allegations to officially petition the Commission," he added.

Asked if anybody could successfully rig the polls through the methods described by the UPC candidate, Jabweli said, "That is a hypothetical question and the Electoral Commission does not respond to rumours".

At the rally in Arua, Miria appealed to female voters to cast their lot with her in the election.

"To the women," Miria said passionately, "I am a mother like you, a widow and know what it means not to have food at home because you are very, very poor today. On February 23 bring all your husbands to vote for Mama Miria and all UPC candidates and you will not regret it."

She expressed concern about government's failure to pay pensions to thousands of former civil servants. She also said it is unfair that widows of former soldiers cannot access the gratuity packages meant for their spouses. The West Nile region has about 17,000 ex-servicemen who are demanding almost Shs50 billion from the government in gratuity payments.

"When we form the new government, we are going to look into all these. Since there are many orphans now, the UPC government will encourage the voluntary adoption and for anyone who adopts such children, government will give some little money to maintain the child," she said amid wild cheers.

Miria announced that her government would set up a special education fund for northern Uganda to help children whose education has been affected by the LRA insurgency.

She accused the Movement government of sabotaging the planned construction of hydropower stations on River Nyagak in Nebbi District and River Olewa in Arua, which would have supplied cheap electricity to the region.

She said the Italian and Netherlands governments had committed resources to develop Nyagak and Olewa dams respectively but were blocked by Museveni's government.

Electricity is a big political issue in the region. Generators supply Arua town's power for 18 hours a day.