Roseline Akello (NRM) meets party chairman Yoweri Museveni

Roseline Akello of the National Resistance Movement has won the Kaabong Woman MP seat beating closest rival Christine Tubo Nakwang by a few hundred votes.

With an estimated total of 395,200 people, the district has a total of 59,082 registered voters with 158 polling stations and 64 parishes.

And, according to the District Returning Officer Sarah Iyolu, MP-elect Akello got 21, 814, while Ms. Nakwang got 21, 558. The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Judith Adyaka Nalibe got a paltry 593 votes.

The Kaabong Woman MP seat fell vacant after the Court of Appeal led by Justice Richard Buteera ruled that the 2016 election in the district was marred with incidents of voter bribery alongside occurrences of non-adherence to the electoral laws.

Meanwhile, the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), a civil society organization has said the by-election was held peacefully despite a delayed commencement of polling at some polling stations.

CCEDU, which has been observing national elections over the years, deployed 60 observers covering all the 19 sub counties of the district.

“The election was generally peaceful and calm.  While the Electoral Commission (EC) was largely efficient at the delivery of polling materials to polling stations, the delay of polling officials to report to work delayed the commencement of polling at some polling stations,” said Crispus Kaheru, CCEDU’s Coordinator.

Kaheru, however, said some biometric machines used in the election didn’t work well due to the fingers of some voters.

“The biometric voter verification kits worked well, although in the rural areas, some machines could not read the voters’ fingers; which the presiding officers at the respective polling stations attributed to ‘dirty’ fingers,” he said, adding that voters whose fingers could not be read were advised to wash their hands and try again. “On the second attempt voters’ fingers were easily read by the machines,” he said.

Kaheru adds there was general voter enthusiasm – with long queues being observed at most polling stations.  The elderly men and women turned up in large numbers to vote.

“There was little visible security deployment, save for the polling constables that were deployed at polling stations,” he said.

Kaheru lauded polling officials including polling constables who he said appeared knowledgeable with the polling procedures.  “In some instances however, they assisted voters to cast their vote, which is against the electoral laws. In other cases, some polling officials forgot pin codes for the Biometric Voter Verification Kits,” he said.

The electorate, Kaheru said, demonstrated vigilance around the vote counting exercise – with many voters returning to their respective polling stations at 4:00pm to witness the counting exercise which he said transpired peacefully although in most sub counties it was disrupted by a heavy down pour.

The EC officials, he said, were organized in receiving and announcing results at the tallying centre.