ARUA. Eyewitnesses in the recently concluded National Resistance Movement (NRM) primary elections in Ayivu West constituency in Arua City have given details of what transpired on the 4th of September in Ombaci parish.
One of the witnesses, a coordinator for Ombaci parish deployed by Mr Bernard Atiku’s camp identified as Mr Charles Sabo said he was blocked by a violent mob working for Mr John Lematia, the eventual winner of the elections.
“They took Shs 200,000 from me which was lunch allowance for our agents; they took away my motorcycle and threatened to kill me if I continued moving in the parish, I had to obey because I was alone for the safety of my life”. Sabo said.
He continued “I also spotted the name of one person in Kigo polling station, his name also appeared in Anyara Mite polling station, he also voted in Endru, one person voting three times while in other polling stations our agents were chased away!”.
Sabo also accused Lematia’s direct involvement in the villages of Endru, Aravile, and Oliva where he was moving in a convoy of vehicles with people voting from one polling station to another.
Mr Bita Agonda, a resident of Amakuva village, Ombaci parish, who was an agent of Atiku said proceedings at his polling station were moving on smoothly as the presiding officer was calling names of registered voters one by one when Lematia and his group invaded the station and forced the presiding officer from reading names but allow all to vote for him and Ms Moureen Osoru.
Mr Noa Embati, who was an agent of Atiku said he was personally confronted by Lematia telling him to let all people vote as he intimidated all the presiding officers, he said all Atiku agents were thrown out of the polling stations as children were also counted.
In one of the polling stations, Lematia got 600 votes in a village that has less than 300 residents but according to results from Ombaci parish, Lematia got 2,732, while Atiku got 101, Bada Fred 64, Ayikobua Danis 68 while Anguyo Danis got 08.
According to the results released by the NRM electoral commission in Arua, Lematia John got 10129 votes with 46.6 percent while Atiku got 4485 votes putting him second with 20.6 percent.
But Lematia denied the accusations saying presiding officers who were trained could have detected the malpractices.
“All other candidates won in their parishes, how could I lose in my own parish, those malpractices could have been detected by the presiding officers and reported, all those allegations leveled against me are false”, Lematia said.
Atiku said “we observed a lot of malpractices, before, during and after the polling day, the first step we took was to ensure that we gather evidence and also get the witnesses to give us an account of what transpired in the various polling stations, we are also recording statements at police because some of the threats are criminal in nature, my supporters who are in Ombaci parish, Anyara, Mbaraka, and other locations are now living in fear”.
He said that his coming to NRM was to sanitize the party to eliminate criminal minded people from the party and make it clean so that anybody can associate with it.
He said the popular position on the ground was for him to stand as an independent candidate but would exhaust all available options at hand.
President in a recent tweet has come out strongly to condemn the malpractices which mired the elections saying all those involved will be dealt with.