Aruu goes to polls today

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The Aruu North by-election takes place today with the Opposition and ruling party candidates going into the home stretch running neck and neck.

FDC-leaning independent and former incumbent, Lucy Aciro again faces off with the ruling NRM’s James Kidega in a repeat of what was an equally extremely close election in February 2016.

There are 48,492 voters in Aruu North and 95 polling stations across the seven sub-counties of the constituency.

The Aruu North seat fell vacant late last month after the Court of Appeal confirmed a High Court decision which nullified the election of Ms Aciro, citing noncompliance with electoral laws.

Running as an independent in February 2016, Ms Aciro had garnered 8,599 votes, defeating Mr Kidega who returned 8,597 votes.

She was, however, thrown out of Parliament in June last year by Gulu High Court.

The court held that she had indulged in electoral malpractice.
President Museveni was in Pader on Tuesday to throw his weight behind the NRM candidate.

Others in this race are Mr Vincent Okot Obutu of the Democratic Party; Justin Boswell Oryema, and Henry Komakech, all independent candidates.

On Wednesday, Mr Komakech told Daily Monitor that whoever dares to rig they can expect the possibility of chaos.

“If NRM fails to comply with the EC guidelines, we shall not watch but take them head on. We have learnt of their plans to rig and we have known of the 29 polling stations where rigging is most likely to take place,” Mr Komakech said.

However, Mr Rogers Mulindwa, speaking for the NRM, said they do not plan to rig the election.

“We have done enough mobilisation on the ground under the able leadership of the Secretary General,” he said adding that “What’s next on the agenda is to ensure effective vote protection. We shall not allow any subversive foreign interference into these elections.

“FDC should not disrupt the electoral process. We equally call upon the NRM supporters to observe maximum peace,” Mr Mulindwa said.

Election materials
Mr Joseph Omona, the district returning officer, told Daily Monitor on Wednesday that all voting materials had been received in the presence of EC Chairman Simon Byabakama and all the six candidates.

“We have received ballot boxes, biometric voters’ verification kits and ballot papers. We have verified them and already we have 15 EC vehicles that will transport the materials to the various polling stations,” Mr Omona said.

He said the training of 380 presiding officers, polling assistants, biometric verification kits’ officers and police constables ended on Tuesday.

Mr Omona also noted that security has been heightened within all the polling stations.

Voting begins at 7 a.m and ends at 4 p.m, he said. Thereafter, tallying will be conducted at the District Council Hall.

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