Reagan Opiro, a voter in Tegwana Parish says he made several failed attempts to vote in the morning because his identity couldn't easily be verified by the machine until he voted manually. He added that some of the voters he was queuing with left after thy became impatient.
Reagan Opiro, a voter in Tegwana Parish preparing to vote manually - Photo by Dominic Ochola
Voting across polling stations in Gulu City on Wednesday suffered
delays after biometric voter verification machines failed to function properly.
Several presiding officers delayed commencing voting until they waited for
further instruction from their supervisors at the Electoral Commission - EC
offices forcing impatient voters to walk away.
Reagan Opiro, a voter in Tegwana Parish says he made several failed attempts to
vote in the morning because his identity couldn't easily be verified by the
machine until he voted manually.
He added that some of the voters he was queuing with left after
they became impatient.
One of the presiding officers at Layibi Central P.7 School polling station who
preferred not to be mention said the machines failed to verify the identity of
people causing unprecedented delays which angered some voters.
Derrick Lewic, another Presiding Officer says while some voters turned up early
to vote, the fingerprint biometric machines, operated slowly and inconvenience
the verification process.
Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu City Mayoral candidate expressed dissatisfaction at
the inefficiency of the biometric machines at the time when the local
government election has been marred by low voter turn up.
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Another contestant, Christopher Acire of the Forum for Democratic Change – FDC
party said that some of his agents have reported failure of the fingerprint
machines like in Pageya-Laroo polling station forcing away some voters.
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In the recently concluded Presidential and parliamentary elections, the EC was
forced to instruct Presiding Officers to resort to the use of manual verification, which consequently slowed the voting process.
The fingerprint machines failed to function in Koro-Kal Polling Station; Kasubi
Central in Gulu West Division, Forest Ward in Gulu City East Division among
others forcing the Presiding Officers to resort to the manual labour. Gulu City
has up to 188 polling stations.
In Lamwo District, a section of electoral officials opted for the
manual registration and verification of voters after the machines failed.
The glitch was noticed at Atwol Tree and Palaa Te-Sambia polling stations both
in Padibe Town Council, Aluu market polling station in Padibe West Sub County,
Jamula P.7 school polling station in Paloga Sub County and Kapeta Wanglango
polling station in Madi Opei Sub County.
Richard Ottoo a voter at Okol Wanglango polling stations says the failure of
the biometric machine delayed the voting process as voters patiently waited as
the polling officials fidgeted with the faulty machines.
Ottoo expressed worry over the failure of the machines saying opting for the
manual verification had slowed voting, created longer voter queues and
anticipates that the situation would lock out some voters from participating in
the polls that close at 4 pm.
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and later Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.