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Minister Kibuule faces probe over stolen ballots, guns

MUKONO, UGANDA: Police in Mukono district are investigating an incident in Kyampisi Sub-county, where police officers were put at gunpoint by security guards of a lands and water state minister Ronald Kibuule who grabbed ballot boxes and ballots on the night of January 14 elections.

A police source said officers from Nagalama Police Station had gone with Electoral Commission (EC) officials to Kyampisi Sub-county headquarters to collect election materials when they were faced with these guards who took way the officers guns in turn.

The source said as the police officers and election officials were waiting for the EC vehicle at about midnight to pick them up, about 10 guards of the minister arrived dressed in civilian clothes.

The source added that the guards put at gun point the police officers and their commander, the officer-in-charge of criminal investigations at Nagalama Police Station, and EC officials.

They reportedly grabbed the police guns and loaded the ballot boxes, ballots and results declaration forms on their vehicles and drove off. The police guns were later found abandoned a short distance from the sub-county headquarters.

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The stolen ballot papers and results declaration forms were for Kyampisi, Kalagala, Kalasa, Namanganga, Nkonge and Kasenene polling stations in Mukono North Constituency.

The commander of the police team reportedly called her superiors at Nagalama and Mukono for reinforcements to recover the stolen guns and electoral materials.

The police reinforcements arrived, but were unable to trace the minister’s guards. They then visited the minister’s home to search for the stolen election materials but did not find him.

Mr Abdullah Kiwanuka, who was later declared winner of Mukono North Parliamentary seat, said the stolen ballot boxes later reappeared in an EC vehicle that was assigned to collect election materials from Nama Sub-county in Mukono.

The vehicle occupants had brought the ballot boxes to the EC tally centre at Mukono District.

“The ballot boxes from Kyampisi Sub-county had been mixed with those from Nama Sub-county. We complained and police confiscated all those materials,” Mr Kiwanuka said.  
 
The EC officials at Mukono tally centre were later allowed to continue tallying results from other polling stations without those from Kyampisi.

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Background

Minister Kibuule, who was seeking his third consecutive term, was defeated by a lawyer, Mr Abdallah Kiwanuka, from the Opposition National Unity Platform party. 

Mr Kiwanuka said the stolen ballot boxes later reappeared in an EC vehicle that was assigned to collect election materials from Nama Sub-county in Mukono.

 “The ballot boxes from Kyampisi Sub-county had been mixed with those from Nama Sub-county,” Mr Kiwanuka said.  


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