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By Mulengera Reporters

 In their Thursday 1st October ruling of three pages, NRM Elections Tribunal member James Orima (member) and Enock Barata (Chairman) cancelled Rita Atukwatsa Bwahika’s declaration as the ruling party flag bearer for woman MP Mbarara City. She had been declared so by Mbarara District Election Officer Ssebuuma Kaweesa (on 4th September 2020) with 14,795 (33.8%) votes indicating she had defeated Bonnie Kiconco Kashaija (12,597 or 28.3%), Emma Bona Kebirungi (7,976 or 18%), Anita Ayebare, Clare Chopper Ekiyasimire and Dona Kyomugisha.



Acting on Kashaija’s petition, the Tribunal discovered that Atukwatsa’s win had resulted from criminal alternation of results whereby what was recorded on DR Forms from some of the 182 polling stations resulted from massive falsification during the tallying exercise. At Agip Polling Station, her 129 votes was altered to 6,502; Lower Polling Station’s 200 votes was changed to 6415 and Bihunya Polling Station’s 108 votes was switched or altered to read as 1080! Karugangama’s 20 votes was altered to read as 520 votes.

Similar alternation occurred at Survey polling station still in favor of Atukwatsa, according to the Tribunal ruling showing more than 17,000 votes resulted from this criminal alternation of results in the Mbarara City woman MP race. In her defense, Atukwatsa unsuccessfully defended herself by arguing the results from the disputed polling stations were excluded and did therefore not substantially impact on the final tally. The Tribunal rejected all this and recommended cancellation and criminal prosecution of some of the NRM election officials who involved themselves in this criminal enterprise.


Atukwatsa’s supporters have not taken this cancellation lightly. Claiming their Atukwatsa is merely being witch-hunted, the supporters have vowed to front her as independent. They have also intensified attacks and demonization on Kashaija whom they claim has no genuine commitment for the NRM. In fact, they are saying she is torn between FDC, DP and NUP. That her family is full of DP, FDC and NUP supporters who have never seen anything good in Gen Museveni and his NRM.


“We can’t elect such an opposition pretender. Her [Bonnie Kashaija’s] father Emmanuel Kashaija is the DP Chairman Mbarara district and her brother Nick Kashaija is the FDC candidate for Mbarara City South facing off with Hon Mpaka Mwine. It’s John Arimpa Kigyagyi using his position as NRM EC member to fix our candidate but we shall show them in general elections,” ranted one of the Atukwatsa supporters vowing to stick to her as an independent candidate.

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