The Inspector General of Police Lt. General Kale Kayihura has rushed to Bushenyi district to beef up security ahead of Wednesday’s by election for Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality Member of Parliament.
Kayihura’s presence in the area follows reports that some of the candidates have deployed goons from Kampala to intimidate rivals’ supporters from freely participating in the exercise. Those pointed out are FDC’s Odo Tayebwa and Nasser Basajjabalaba of the ruling NRM party.
Heavy armored police vehicles have been deployed at most strategic outlets with in Bushenyi and Ishaka towns.
While four people including two Independent candidates are in the race, the battle is between Tayebwa and Basajjabalaba, who are renewing their rivalry after the February 2011 elections. Basajjabalaba won the elections but his victory was overturned in an April 2012 Court of Appeal ruling on grounds of voter bribery.
The other candidates are Robert Bwarare and Ismail Kikurwe.
Kayihura, however, said heavy deployment is not meant to favour any candidate but to create a peaceful environment for the people to excise their rights vote. He said he cannot sit in Kampala and wait for election-related violence to occur like it happened in Luweero and Jinja by elections, adding that such risks cannot be accepted to occur again.
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Kayihura warned politicians and their supporters not to disrupt the election exercise saying those who do so risk being prosecuted. The IGP vowed to patrol the entire electoral area on foot for him to be able to identify and deal with any perpetrators.
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On Monday, President Yoweri Museveni joined the campaign trail, addressing two rallies in support of Hassan Basajjabalaba, the district NRM chairperson. Basajjabalaba told the president at a rally that FDC is intimidating NRM supporters and vowed to retaliate by creating a hostile environment in order to dislodge them from the area if nothing is done by security personnel to address the problem.
Museveni described the FDC candidate as a Chameleon who is unprincipled and therefore unfit to represent the area.
Meanwhile the electoral commission is making final preparations to deliver election materials to all the 33 polling stations in the municipality.
The Bushenyi district returning officer Barbara Mulimira says a total of 22,902 voters are expected to cast their ballots.