Big Story: More than 50,000 People Voted for President Museveni , Skipped Woman MP in Three Districts

President Yoweri Museveni scored 50,805 more votes than the people who voted for the Woman Member of Parliament in the districts of Kazo, Kiruhura and Isingiro in western Uganda. This means that 50,805 voted for the president but did not take part in voting for District Woman Member of Parliament in these districts, even though voting happened on the same day, at the same polling stations.

In Kiruhura—the president’s home district—Museveni polled 23,130 more votes than the people who voted for the Woman MP. He scored 75,483, representing 98.76 of votes cast, in the district that had a voter turnout of 93. 91 per cent. 

The records show that 76,743 out of 81,891 registered voters, in Kiruhura voted for the President. But on the same day, in the same district and from the same number of polling stations, 52,353 voters participated in the election of the Woman MP across the district, a difference of 29 per cent of the voters. This figure includes 464 invalid votes.  

This figure is derived from examination of Woman MP declaration forms in these districts and tally sheets of presidential election results released by the Electoral Commission last week.   

A significant difference in Kiruhura’s voter turnout is in Nyabushozi constituency which was won by NRM’s Wilson Kajwengye. Museveni scored 57,580 votes in Nyabushozi yet the constituency voter turnout for MP was 36,753 voters.   Kajwengye says “there is no law that forces one to vote for any candidate. He adds; “in fact, most people came, voted and left. A lot of importance is attached to the party president. And that is what people preferred. I cannot cry, I cannot scream for anything.”     

Kajwengye says that any person who thinks that the difference in voter turnout means there was rigging, would be engaging in “speculation and stretching imagination.” Kiruhura District Returning Officer, Deborah Asiimwe says she is not aware of the variance in voter turnout, but promised to study it.  

The trend is similar in Kazo, a district which was curved out of Kiruhura two years ago. Here, the president scored 73,043 votes representing 98.04 per cent of the total votes cast. Kazo has 92,843 registered voters. But only 53,557 registered voters participated in the election of the Kazo Woman Member of Parliament. 

This means Museveni scored 19,486 more votes than the number of people who participated in the election of the woman MP. While the voter turnout for the president was 81.41, it was only 57.68, for the Woman MP, a 23.73 percentage difference.    

Kazo District Returning Officer Gustavus Kakeire advised URN to contact the Electoral Commission for clarity on the matter. But EC spokesperson Paul Bukenya says this question requires time to research and verify figures. 

This pattern is further reflected in Isingiro district where the president score 8,189 votes more than the total voter turnout for the District Woman MP. There is a difference of 9.74 per cent (22,710 voters) between voter turnout for the president and District Woman MP. The president polled 188,609 votes in Isingiro (93.37 percent).   

The focus on these districts was informed by the fact that its where Museveni polled 100 per cent at tens of polling stations. But there are districts such as Kisoro and Nakaseke with polling stations where Museveni polled 100 per cent, without any significant difference in voter turnout for the president and Woman MP.     

URN could not trace election observers who went to Kazo and Kiruhura on election day. But several NRM leaders in the two districts told URN last year that no election observer has ever written a report pinning them on rigging. Anne Nkutu, an Election Observer with Uganda Women Situation Room who went to Isingiro says she could not talk about the figures. 

“Most of the observations we made were in the early hours of the morning when voting was just beginning. We did not go back in the evening. It’s hard to me for me to make a fair comment on figures,” she says.   Nkutu says in the morning hours when they visited polling stations, “people were not so many.” 

Bernard Sabiiti, a Data and Public Policy Analyst says that such a variance between voter turnout for the president and Woman MP is indicative that there was “vote tampering for the president and none for the MP position. You can’t tell me that in all these examples, some voters were simply voting for the president alone and skipping voting for MP.”  

Peter Bogere, an official from the Uganda Project Implementation and Management Centre (UPIMAC), an organization that conducts voter education thinks that a big voter turnout difference means there was rigging. “It’s difficult and inconceivable for someone to tell me that voters came, voted for the president and went. If there is any difference, it should be more than two per cent.”   

The National Unity Platform –NUP Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi has petitioned the Supreme Court, calling for the nullification of the presidential election that Museveni won with 58 per cent. But Sabiiti argues that such “probable evidence of rigging” will not be entertained in court. “It is still important that this analysis of EC’s own data is done to show the world how nakedly rigged this election may have been,” he says.   

There is also a 5.9 per cent difference between turnout for the president and Woman MP in Ntungamo where Museveni got 161,655 votes in Ntungamo, which is equal to 85 per cent of the total votes cast.