1/9 I see some UPC supporters taunting DP for not ‘filing’ candidates during the 1980 elections: typical riggers’ lingo. File candidates! In fact, UPC had ‘filed’ 43 candidates, but to their disappointment, they managed to get 17 “unopposed” giving them a headstart that was further reinforced by Legal Notice No. 10….and of course they refer why other parties did not take UPC to courts of law and they do not tell us why Justice W Wambuzi was summarily sacked a few days before polling day and replaced with George Masika, a card-carrying UPC diehard…and the sacking of 14 non-UPC District Commissioners etc. Let me run you through how UPC “files” candidates:
2/9 Arua: All five DP candidates arrived in time for nomination. The electoral commission had assured all parties that several requirements had been waived due to the prevailing war situation in Arua, Moyo and Nebbi. Almost from nowhere, AM Obote announced on radio that UPC in Arua had no opposition and they were there-and-then declared elected unopposed. The waiving of the requirements was a trap laid for the DP. While the DP candidates took the Electoral Commission for their word, the same commission tipped the UPC to have all documents in place. Although the Arua DP candidates were disqualified fraudulently for non-possession of income tax documents, the UPC candidate for Masaka North, who was unable to secure a nomination on similar grounds was later “nominated”, 36 hours to polling day on 8 December 1980, two weeks after the actual nomination day.
3/9 Moyo: The DP candidate, Engineer Sam Drale was detained by UNLAs some five miles before he reached the DC’s office. He was kept in the Army barracks and released at 1930, after the nominations had ended. The reason for detaining him was that he was plotting to overthrow the Military commission government.
4/9 Mbale: DP candidate Haji Sulaiman Masaba Mbale West constituency was declared nominated at noon on the day. The DC then recalled him with allegations that some of his nomination documents were forged. The DP leaders in Mbale strongly objected to the DC’s claims and the DC chickened out of his scheme.
5/9 Soroti: The DP candidate, Mr Michael Etatau (Soroti Central) was declared nominated at noon, given a certificate of proof of nomination, later he was put at gun point by UNLA personnel and caused to surrender the certificate and ordered to report to the DC. The DC then taught Mr Etatau that from that day onwards, he (Mr Etatau) did not know how to speak English and therefore his nomination was invalid. Elsewhere, DP candidate Mr Raymond Ekadu was nominated, given a certificate but later the certificate was confiscated from him by the Returning Officer on grounds that Mr Ekadu had not resigned from public service, which was in fact not the case. Even if it had been, once nomination is completed, challenges can only arise after the general election has been held.
6/9 Bundibugyo: The DP candidate arrived at the DC’s office, he was ordered to wait for 2 hours and there after tadvised that he was too late.
7/9 Kasese: Nomination papers of all three DP candidates were accepted, notified to the electoral commission in a letter dated 27th November 1980 (which I have seen), and duly gazetted on 5 December 1980. Then on 8 December, 2 weeks after nomination, and 36 hours before polling began, Radio Uganda announced that EC had declared the nomination of those three DP candidates invalid on grounds that the papers had been presented after 1200 noon and that the Returning Officer had only accepted their nomination under duress. The Commonwealth Observer Group strongly objected to this action by Mr Kikira of the EC. The UPCs tampered, rather clumsily, with the nomination papers of the last DP candidate to alter it from 11:58 to 12:05. Apparently, Mr Kikira, the EC Chairman used the Primary Three saliva-on-finger rubber that almost created a hole in the nomination paper. Consequently, two Kasese UPC candidates were elected unopposed. In Kasese North, UPM’s C Kiyonga beat UPC…by 900 votes. On the action of the EC on Kaseese DP nominations, the COG concluded that, “In all the circumstances we have no option but to conclude that the action taken by the electoral commission in declaring the nomination null and void was contrary to the law and had no basis in fact”
8/9 Tororo: The UPM candidates were disqualified from nomination on grounds that they did not know how to speak English. One of the victims of that requirement was Chango Macho W’obanda, who was at the time, (and for many years before and after) a Senior Lecturer at the Makerere University Centre for Continuing Education. Father Okoth was blocked on similar grouds: zero english, when in fact he had even been in the post-Amin cabinet holding the portfolio of Deputy minster of internal affairs, and was even a member of the National Conusltative Council.
9/9 Lango: All but one DP candidate made it to the registration station. Other candidates were chased away by UPC youth wingers/UNLA. The only one that made it was Adoko Nekyon, courtesy to his Oyima clan membership. Even with him, all his 12 supporters were sent running for their lives, so he had no proposer or seconder.
When some people mention the case of Mr Mugwisa, you remind me of UPC impudity. Mubende North East was one of the constituencies where elctions went on to be rigged weeks after voting. At the end of the voting exercise, Dr Sebuliba (DP) was declared the winner. Two weeks later, his seat was allocated to Mr Mugwisa, who was thereafter appointed Agriculture Minister.
For Iganga North East, Luwuliza’s to be constituency, Mr P Wangola (DP) fled to Kenya on 11th Dec 1980 after a squad of UNLAs tried to arrest him. By the time he was forced to flee, he was leading by 28,000 votes, with UPC tagging on with 11,000 in 38 out of 40 polling stations, and even after rigging. The result was eventually announced mid January 1981 on Radio. By the time the announcement was made, Mr Kirunda had 23,144 votes and Mr Wangola had 18,345!
Even in Iganga East, there was similar switching. Mr Nakendo polled 19,859 and Mr Mwonda polled 19,566. Those were switched.
The same story was repeated in Kigezi Central. Mr Kitariko (DP) polled 18,085; while Mr Katama (UPC) polled 17, 827. Those too were switched. At Kashenyi polling station of that constituency, 1,076 ballot papers were received but only 106 were used. Mr Muwanga announced 357, viz, DP: 25; UPC: 330; UPM: 2.
That is when I say: if the opposite of pros is cons, the opposite of progress is Congress!
Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto