PRESS STATEMENT ON THE KASESE DISTRICT WOMAN BY-ELECTIONS
The Uganda Police Force wishes to correct the erroneous reports attributed to the Electoral Commission (EC), and reported in the media, regarding Police investigation into complaints of electoral fraud in the recent by-election of Kasese District Woman Representative.
The Electoral Commission contends that the arrest of the Kasese District Returning Officer on Saturday, 11th August, 2012, interrupted the timely transmission of election results by the Returning Officer.
The Electoral Commission further claims that the Police took away all documents required to gazette the election results.
This information is not correct.
The Criminal Investigation Directorate of the Uganda Police Force received several complaints ranging from outright electoral fraud to specific incidents of electoral malpractice during that by-election.
On Thursday the 9th August, 2012; the day after that by-election, Police Detectives contacted the District Returning Officer seeking clarification on matters raised in the received complaints.
The Returning Officer informed the Police that he was on his way to Kampala to file the statutory returns of the by-election, and that he would return the following day.
On Friday, detectives called the officer again, and he assured them that he was still in Kampala, at the Electoral Commission Headquarters, and will travel back to Kasese later in the day.
On Saturday morning, the detectives called the Officer several times, and he claimed to be stuck in Kampala at the Electoral Commission Headquarters.
Police officers requested the assistance of senior EC officials in Kampala to access the officer, and they denied knowledge of his presence in Kampala, and of any returns filed from the by-election.
Police mounted a search for the Returning Officer, and established that for the entire period he was communicating with the Police, he was in his rural home in Kagango Sub-County in Sheema District; and not in Kampala, as he claimed.
Police went to his rural home, and were informed that he had just left for Kasese. He was intercepted and arrested on arrival in Kasese on Saturday evening.
The Returning Officer was released on Monday the 13th of August, 2011.
Upon release, the Returning Officer continued with his work in the rural areas of Kasese.
The claim by the EC that the Police action interfered with the timely transmission of election results is, therefore, false and misleading.
The Returning Officer had ample time, both before and after his detention, to complete the process. Police investigations should not be used as pretext to abscond the observance of the statutory duty of the Electoral Commission.
It is also not true that the Police took away all documents required by the EC to gazette the results.
On the contrary, the Returning Officer informed the Police that the documents pertaining to the by-election are locked up in the EC stores in Kasese, and that the key to the stores is kept by his driver.
To date, the Police are still looking for the driver, who has gone into hiding. The detectives have not accessed the EC stores or taken any documents pertinent to gazetting the election results.
The Police will continue with the investigation to its logical conclusion, in accordance with the law, and shall not be diverted or distracted by false accusations and reports from any quarters.