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Simon-Byamukama-Mugenyi-Electoral Commission Private Tally Centres
Justice Simon Byabakama the EC chairperson. FILE PHOTO

The Electoral Commission has warned presidential candidates against establishing private tally centres.

As parties across the country devise mean to eliminate any form of vote-rigging, the Electoral Commission (EC) has warned presidential candidates against establishing private tally centres.

Earlier on, opposition parties declared that they will set up a united tally centre for presidential candidates. Parties including DC, Jeema, NUP, DP, ANT, and independent candidate Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde agreed to unite and apply joint technology to help in ensuring strict vote counting.

However, while flagging off voting materials to nine upcountry districts including Busia, Butambala, Iganga, Kasese, and Sironko, Justice Simon Byabakama the EC chairperson emphasized that it is only the Commission mandated to tally and announce outcomes from the elections.

Byabakama said that the strategy from parties and individuals is a waste of time because the EC is credible and will only announce results it has tallied.

“We shall not allow tally centres, it is the work of Electoral Commission to do tallying and declaration of votes and also to announce winners and losers,” Byabakama said.

Also, he called upon all Ugandans to adhere to the new directive from the Commission to have every single voter once they are done casting their vote leave the polling stations.

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Byabakama re-emphasized that this has been done to limit congestion that might culminate into the further spread of the coronavirus.

“The notion that voters should remain behind at their respective polling stations until tallying will not be allowed. this is impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and could violate the Standard Operating Procedures,” Byabakama said.

He issued a strong warning to candidates who are advising their supporters to stick around polling stations until all votes are counted. He said that not even media will be allowed to capture photos of ballot papers on the day of the elections.

“If you are going to encourage voters to remain around, be carefull; you might end up losing votes as a candidate. You’re not allowed to take pictures of ballot papers on election day. Not even the media will be allowed within the polling area,” Byabakama added.

Earlier this week while appearing on NBS TV’s Morning Breeze programme, the 2016 presidential elections candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye urged Ugandans not to leave the polling stations after casting their votes.

Besigye explained that the ruling NRM party has mastered the art of rigging votes and they are ready to utilise any opportunity left by Ugandans to make their dream possible.

Simon-Byamukama-Mugenyi-Electoral Commission Private Tally Centres
Justice Simon Byabakama the EC chairperson. FILE PHOTO

As a result, he advised Ugandans to remain vigilant and more so stick around the polling stations even after casting their votes to be in a position to monitor any form of rigging. 

“A dormant citizen becomes a slave, you must be active, go and vote and see that your paper is not destroyed, until they count your vote and announce it,” Besigye cited.

“Your enthusiasm shouldn’t stop at throwing the ballot in the box. Let us place the votes in the ballot, I vote from Rukungiri, I will drive there to go and vote. If it was a free and fair election, you would vote and go home. You have to be there because even our polling agents will be arrested.”