In Re: The Election for Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Polling Area Branch (PAB) and Parish structures in Nakawa Division
Petition for Rerun and removal of Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka from the electoral process in Nakawa
Petitioner Anne Mugisha Bwomezi alleges and shows to the Chairman for Kampala District, Forum for Democratic Change:
1. That Petitioner was a candidate for the office of Chairperson, Women’s League, for LC I Office B, in Bugolobi Parish, Nakawa Constituency, Kampala District in an election held on September 11th 2011. The Petitioner is also an aspiring candidate in election primaries for FDC flag-bearer for Member of Parliament in the same constituency. The Electoral College for primaries includes PAB chairpersons and Parish executives.
2. That Petitioner is informed and believes that an election fraud has been committed in Banda, Bugolobi, Bukoto I, Butabika, Luzira, Mbuya I, Naguru I, Naguru II, and other parishes of Nakawa Constituencies, in the return of votes cast for the PAB Committee and Parish Executive members. On the basis of the following complaints your Petitioner collected statements from different parishes to support these claims.
3. That Petitioner knows in her own knowledge that:
• Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka is a candidate in the upcoming primaries for Member of Parliament which election will be decided by PAB Chairpersons and Parish executives. He is the current FDC Chairperson of Nakawa Division a post he held concurrently with that of Electoral Commissioner on the FDC Electoral Commission; even months after he declared and publicized his interest in running for the MP seat in Nakawa.
• On August 24th 2010, the Petitioner complained in a written petition to the Chief Electoral Commissioner that Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka was an aspiring candidate in an upcoming election but still retained a privileged position as an Electoral Commissioner thereby accessing privileged information that no other aspiring candidate could access. That complaint was restated by your Petitioner at a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in Najjanankumbi, on August 25th 2010, thereby bringing these concerns to the top leadership of the party.
• On August 26th 2010, the Petitioner wrote a second petition in this regard and both petitions asserted the existence of an incurable conflict of interest that could only be resolved if Mr. Kabaziguruka were disqualified from participating in any election in Nakawa. The petitions and email communications that ensued are attached for ease of reference.
• On the date of the disputed elections, at Naguru Community Center, electoral materials, specifically blank return forms; exceeding the number of polling stations were collected and distributed at various polling stations by intending candidates.
• At Naguru Community Center one FDC Electoral Commissioner Richard Kudeeba acknowledged the incompetence of the FDC Electoral Commission and stated that the election would continue in spite of that incompetence.
• At Kayembe polling station in Bugolobi, voters were in possession of copies of return form which is the property of FDC Electoral Commission; which they came to obtain prior to the arrival of the presiding officer of the delivery of official election materials. The voting exercise was abandoned after voters rejected the transferring of pre-selected names to the valid return sheets.
• As a result no election took place in Bugolobi Parish to elect PAB and Parish committees and the majority of voters who turned up for the election at Kayembe in Bugolobi signed a statement explaining the reason for abandoning the voting exercise. A copy of the statement is attached for ease of reference.
• Blank return forms are still in the possession of intending candidates including your petitioner. A copy of the blank form is attached for ease of reference.
• During the evening of September 11, 2010, the Petitioner received reports of widespread fraud perpetrated by Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka who was a candidate as well as other and irregularities that caused confusion in at least ten parishes and cancellation or postponement of elections in at least four Parishes.
• Upon receipt of the aforementioned reports, the Petitioner wrote to the Electoral Commission on September 11th 2010, requesting a postponement of the next level (Division) elections until all PAB and Parish elections were conducted.
• On September 12, 2010 at about 10:00 am, the Petitioner received a phone call from one Richard Kudeeba, an Electoral Commissioner who stated that all elections which had been cancelled or postponed the previous day were due to be held the same day at 2:00pm. The Petitioner requested to receive the Electoral Commissioner’s decision to hold elections the same day they are announced in writing and objected to the holding of elections without addressing anomalies that caused cancellation or mobilizing voters to turn up for the new election.
• Upon receiving no written confirmation from Mr. Kudeeba the Petitioner, on September 12, 2010, informed her agents that there could be no Division elections until all Parishes were fairly represented. Your Petitioner also wrote to the Chief Electoral Commissioner and the leadership of the Party via email at 11:37am, the same day, updating them about the phone call from Mr. Kudeeba. The exchanges via email in relation to this subject are attached for ease of reference.
• Upon receiving your Petitioner’s email the Chief Electoral Commissioner responded on September 12th 2010, at 12:01pm stating that ‘I have failed to send an earlier email to you.’ This was promptly followed by another email at 12:07am in which the Chief Electoral Commissioner gave his reason for continuing with the election process stating “I request you to appreciate the fact that NRM has been in power for 25 years! and FDC members also live in the same country and under the same environment with NRM members. some of the bad NRM habits have spilled over to our members so we need concerted effort to clean our back-yard! Looking at the little time left to start nominations and party primary elections, The party electoral commission has decided that the parishes which did not complete the elections must hold the exercise on 12th Sept 2010 so that Division elections are held on 13th Sept 2010.”
• The Petitioner responded restating her objections to an immediate rerun in PABS and Parishes. The Petitioner’s pleas were dismissed contemptuously by the Chief Electoral Commissioner. The exchanges are attached for ease of reference.
• Upon being rebuked and dismissed by the Chief Electoral Commissioner, the Petitioner led a delegation of Presiding Officers and Nakawa party leaders that had participated and witnessed fraud and irregularities in the parishes of Banda, Bugolobi, Butabika, Luzira, Mbuya I, Mutungo Naguru I and Naguru II as well as concerned party leaders from the parishes of Nakawa and Kiwatule to make submissions of their experiences to the Party Chairman and Party President and receive their advice on the current impasse in Nakawa Division.
4. That Petitioner is informed and believes that:
• At Naguru Community Center, Ms. Harriet Nakweda who was handing out electoral materials and acting on the instructions of the Chief Electoral Commissioner left the vehicle of the Chairman, Kampala District on the insistence of Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka, her former boss, and joined Mr. Kabaziguruka in his vehicle with electoral materials and voters cards. The two proceeded to deliver the materials together and to collect returns from several polling stations at the end of the voting exercise.
• In Banda Parish there was conflicting information about the venue for the exercise causing confusion. The venue communicated by the Chief Electoral Commissioner was Kyambogo P.S. Playground. The venue communicated to voters in Banda on polling day by Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka was Kyambogo College. Later the presiding officer cancelled the elections at Kyambogo P.S. Playground due to violence and one Bernard, an agent of your Petitioner; was assaulted during that incident.
• In Bugolobi Parish, at Kayembe polling station, voters claimed that Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka a candidate in the upcoming primaries for MP; availed them with copies of electoral materials (return forms)with instructions to pre-select names of candidates and demand that the presiding officer copy those lists on to the true original return forms.
• In Bukoto I Parish the elections were postponed to the following day for unknown reasons.
• In Butabika Parish, the returning officer signed blank return forms and left them with the newly elected chairman one Mr. Rukundo to complete the blank forms.
• In Kyanjja Parish election materials were late and there was no election.
• In Luzira Parish the presiding officer was replaced with an Electoral Officer one Harriet Nakweda without following electoral guidelines and the agreed procedure for electing presiding officers. One Edith Nayera who was the elected presiding officer before Ms. Harriet Nakweda arrived; was not allowed to keep a copy of the results as required by the Electoral Commission. At the close of elections, Ms. Nakweda and Mr. Kabaziguruka drove off with the return forms. When Ms. Nayera the original presiding officer tried to hold onto some election results she was physically manhandled, and pulled to her feet from a sitting position by an angry Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka, a candidate in the upcoming primaries for MP; which election will be decided by PAB Chairpersons and Parish executives.
• In Mbuya Parish the venue for elections was changed from Life in Jesus Christ Church to Okuvu without prior notice leading to voters missing the election. The presiding officer was not properly elected since most voters were not aware of the changed venue of the election. The returns from the election were removed from the polling area to an unknown destination by one Omongole.
• In Mutungo Parish where only 9 out of 41 polling stations were represented at elections, the presiding officer reports that unknown agents with pre-filled FDC electoral commission return forms requested him to adopt the lists as official results but he declined. Moreover, after the elections the presiding officer was forced to surrender returns to Ms. Harriet Nakweda and Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka a candidate in the upcoming primaries for MP; which election will be decided by PAB Chairpersons and Parish executives.
• In Naguru I Parish, the return forms were completed by the newly elected chairperson and members of the new leadership by filling them with names of unknown voters picked randomly from the voters register.
• In Naguru II Parish the same individuals filled multiple positions on the PAB and Parish Committees and at one polling station at Kiboko’s Place, two return forms were signed by the presiding officer each with a different set of individuals for the same positions.
• In Luzira, Mutungo and Butabika Parishes Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka after participating in elections as a candidate, travelled around polling stations in the same vehicle with a party official, one Harriet Nakwede, and actively participated in receiving results of elections in which he had a vested interest, moreover, he had easy access to additional blank return forms.
• The Petitioner is aware that there is a pending petition that was filed against Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka alleging electoral fraud in his election as Chairperson of Nakawa Division in 2008.
• The Petitioner is informed that there is a motion of ‘no-confidence’ that was submitted to Party by leaders and members of FDC in Nakawa Division and that this is still pending.
• The Petitioner avers that the conduct of the elections in Nakawa was, and is contrary to Section 71 (c) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda which states that: ‘A political party in the multiparty political system shall conform to the following principles— … the internal organisation of a political party shall conform to the democratic principles enshrined in this Constitution;’ The democratic principles are stated in the National Objective and Directive Principle II of the Constitution which states in section (v) that ‘All political and civic associations aspiring to manage and direct public affairs shall conform to democratic principles in their internal organisations and practice.’
Wherefore: Petitioner requests:
• Immediate halting of the FDC Party electoral process in Nakawa in order to preserve and protect her constitutional rights to participate in the electoral process.
• The disqualification of Mr. Michael Kabaziguruka as a candidate in any election in Nakawa Constituency including the Primaries for Member of Parliament; due to the conflict of interest that exists as a result of his multiple roles as Chairperson Nakawa Division, candidate in Nakawa Division elections and his continued role as an Electoral Commissioner, until the date of his resignation in the last days of August 2010.
• A nullification of results from the ongoing FDC electoral process in Nakawa Constituency.
• A rerun of FDC elections at PAB, Parish and Division levels in Nakawa Constituency in a transparent free and fair process;
The Petitioner informs these good offices that she will seek an injunction from the courts of law to preserve and protect her constitutional rights to participate in the electoral process in Nakawa.
Dated this 13th day of September 2010
Anne Mugisha Bwomezi
I, Anne Mugisha Bwomezi, state that the matters contained in the above petition are known to me to be true except for those allegations stated on information and belief, which I believe to be true.
c.c The Chief Electoral Commissioner, FDC
The Electoral Tribunal, FDC
The President, FDC
The Chairperson, FDC
The Secretary General, FDC