DOKOLO BY-ELECTION: Observers confirm free and fair election process

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Baker Walusimbe, the head of the Global Election Observation Mission (GEOM) and Chief Operation Officer addressed the media shortly after holding a pre-poling meeting with various stake holders that the observers held multiple engagement meetings with all the candidates and discovered that, despite their complaints about the short amount of time allotted to them, the campaign rallies were conducted in a free and fair manner.

The Global Election Observation Mission, he said, is neutral, nonpartisan, and solely responsible for observing the electoral process.

According to Zaharah Namakula the P. R. O. Global Election Observation Missions, their role as observers is to observe events objectively.

Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, who was also the chairperson of the pre-polling meeting with various stakeholder groups on Wednesday, announced that political parties fielding candidates in the by-election have been authorized to send up to five observers per sub-county upon request to the commission.

Furthermore, it is mandatory for these observers to confine their actions and presence to the sub-counties in which they have been accredited, rather than freely moving between them.

Byabakama claims that the EC has also given permission for all political parties to send up to five observers to the tally center.

He expressed gratitude to the Police Force for making sure that all candidates and their backers followed these rules.

Byabakama also provided the election day schedule, which shows that polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m. today Thursday.

He did clarify, though, that voters will still be able to cast their ballots if they are still in line at 4 p.m.

This is due to the fact that the presiding officer is required by law to wait until at least ten registered voters are present before starting the voting process.

On the other hand, Lalama Hanna Grace, an independent candidate, sent a letter of withdrawal to the office of the returning officer Dokolo, as verified by Byabakama Mugenyi at the meeting.

It has been made clear by Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon that voters should not support Lalama and that any vote in her favor will be void.

The public was reassured by the commission that every precaution had been taken to guarantee that this would not compromise the legitimacy of the election.