The declaration of the State Minister for Labour, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukutana, as the NRM flag bearer for the Rushenyi parliamentary seat yesterday has caused fracas especially in the opponent’s camp after it emerged that the party tribunal had scheduled the election petition hearing for September 30th.
Former Ntungamo District Woman MP Naome Kabasharira, who put up a fight against Rukutana in the primary and was widely considered the winner, yesterday said she was surprised by the declaration of Mr Rukutana as the winner when a few hours before the NRM tribunal had told her they would hear the petition next week.
“I was informed this morning that the NRM elections tribunal was to listen to our grievances emanating from the Rushenyi elections. I am then called in the afternoon that results have been released and what Mr Odoi had declared is what was the centre of contention,” Ms Kabasharira told the press.
“He (Tanga Odoi) is saying we lost by 20 votes and he is including votes from a polling station of Nyakahita that never voted. We shall remain calm and wait for the tribunal hearing. I hope justice shall be done.”
The NRM electoral commission chairman, Mr Tanga Odoi, yesterday declared Mr Rukutana the flag bearer for Rushenyi County, defeating Ms Kabasharira with a margin of 20 votes after re-tallying the votes.
Ms Kabasharira had initially been declared the winner of the September 4 primaries with 24,006 votes against Mr Rukutana’s 23,966. There were three other aspirants in the race.
However, Mr Rukutana, who was arrested for allegedly using violence and is currently out of prison on bail, petitioned the NRM electoral commission who cancelled the results last week. Ms Kabasharira later also filed a counter-petition.
Mr Odoi ordered the re-tallying of the votes at the NRM headquarters and yesterday announced the final results at his office in Kampala.
Last week, Mr Odoi said he would announce the final results after visiting Nyakahita Village in Rushenyi District.
“It was disputed that there was no election (in Nyakahita village). I went and met the people that you may think are local but very intelligent. What they told me is that they had elections and they even had results on their fingertips. By the time the rain came and people started infiltrating from other towns, I had already covered 42 ladies and 16 men and the results I got in my research did not have a lot of error. I used it to confirm what I want to declare,” Odoi said at the declaration of the final tally yesterday.
In the final tally announced, Mr Rukutana had 25,310 votes representing 46.27 per cent while Ms Kabasharira polled 25,290 votes which is 46.23 per cent, translating into a margin of 20 votes.
Mr Bob Nahabwe came third with 2,270 votes followed by Mr Nicholas Nuwahereza with 1,229 votes, Mr Norman Kashereka polled 350 votes and Mr Elia Rwagara Mwesigwa came last with 256 votes.
During the re-tallying last week, Ms Kabasharira contested the results on a declaration form produced by Mr Rukutana’s team, saying there were no elections in Nyakahita Village.
“The results are not correct that he (Rukutana) is defeating us with 20 votes. His team went to Nyakahita Village which did not vote and made a declaration form. When we went for re-tallying, we asked for the copy of the electoral commission and it was not there,” Ms Kabasharira says.