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Cablegate: Nrm Wins Controversial Eastern Region by-Elections

VZCZCXRO1295
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #0865 1410915
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210915Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8777
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KAMPALA 000865

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM UG
SUBJECT: NRM WINS CONTROVERSIAL EASTERN REGION BY-ELECTIONS


1. (U) Summary. The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM)
party won two district seats in eastern Uganda but lost another in
the first by-elections held under a multiparty system. Despite
President Museveni's active campaigning, there was a low voter
turnout of less than 50 percent of registered voters in the hotly
contested Kamuli district. International and Ugandan election
observers in Kamuli said there were anomalies which made the
integrity of the results questionable. FDC rejected the Kamuli
results and vowed to petition the courts. A total of 62 persons,
alleged to be FDC supporters, were arrested and charged with
conspiracy to incite violence and to disrupt the elections. End
Summary.

-----------------
Low Voter Turnout
-----------------

2. (U) On May 10, by-elections were held in the three eastern
Ugandan districts of Kamuli, Bududa and Pallisa. The NRM candidate
in Kamuli, Stephen Mubiru narrowly defeated Proscovia Salama
Musumba, the heavy favorite and FDC's Vice President. Mubiru polled
46,322 (47.3 percent) votes against FDC's Musumba who polled 44,444
(45.4 percent) votes. In the newly created district of Bududa,
Wilson Watira, the NRM candidate, defeated two independent
contenders, polling 18,471 (61.5 percent) votes. The NRM suffered a
setback in Pallisa District, where independent candidate Issa
Bantalib Taligoola, polled 70,891 votes (70 percent) against NRM's
Patrick Mutono, who polled 30,335 votes (30 percent) votes. The
voter turnout of registered voters in Kamuli was less than 50
percent; in Pallisa 60 percent, while in the newly created Budada
district turnout was 70 percent.

---------------------------------------------
Monitors Cite Anomalies in Kamuli by-election
--------------------------------------------- -

3. (U) Election monitors from the Ugandan Democracy Monitoring
Group (DEMGroup) said the elections in Kamuli were peaceful, but
found anomalies which made the integrity of the results
questionable. The DEMGroup report released on May 14 cited a number
of anomalies including arbitrary arrests of FDC supporters,
supervisors and monitors which caused unnecessary tension during the
exercise and alteration of election results. The report also noted
that road blocks intended to weed out people who did not reside in
Kamuli District infringed on the right of movement, and could have
intimidated some voters not to vote.

--------------------------
FDC Rejects Kamuli Results
---------------------------

4. (U) The FDC disputed results from ten polling stations in
Kamuli and vowed to petition the courts, citing malpractice and the
involvement of President Museveni, who camped in the district for 10
days prior to the elections. The party also claimed the Electoral
Commission set up non-gazetted polling stations.

-------
COMMENT
-------

5. (U) Busoga region in eastern Uganda has traditionally been a
stronghold of the NRM, which explains why Museveni took a personal
interest to campaign for NRM candidates. FDC's Musumba was a
"favorite" of the electorate because she stood above NRM's political
divisions in the district's leadership. Although she lost the
race, Musumba remains a political force to be reckoned with in the
district. The outcome of the by-elections suggests that Busoga
region is going be a hotly contested territory between NRM and FDC
as we move towards the 2011 elections.
CHRITTON


3

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