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Hundreds Of Ugandans Sneaked To Cast Votes As DR Congo Goes To Polls

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By Hillary Alithum

Hundreds of Congolese and a sizeable number of Ugandans residing in Congo and across the porous borders of Uganda and Congo in the nearby township of Paidha and the neighboring sub-counties of Abanga and Nyapea thronged Warr Palara -Azalama on Wednesday December,20 to cast their votes for the over 20 candidates for presidency including the incumbent Felix Tshishekedi , hundreds of candidates for national and provincial members of Parliament .

Azalam-Parombo that is located within Mahagi ,ITURI province is one of the 175,000 polling boots accredited by the CENI electoral commission that commenced polls at about 8 am in the morning hours with eight different polling points rationed according to alphabetical initials of the voters who were verified in the voters registered displayed within the vicinity of the rationed rooms each manned by about 5 electoral officers and a computer touch screen device similar to a tablet on which codes of the different candidates were printed on the ballot paper for casting.

This publication further learnt that a greater section of the voters from both Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo who turned up for the electoral processes were disgruntled due to the irregularities of delayed commencement of polls , ambiguity in voter verification and knowledge gap on use of the digital voting device by voters which culminated into gross delays in the casting of votes and protracted queues of voters in the scorching sunshine and many voters run out of patience and abandoned the election and the processes.

Some of the voters who were engaged by Ultimate News during the voting session raised concerns about limited attention to the needy persons and missing names on the voter registers among other irregularities. Mr.sam Rwothomio,a dual citizen of Uganda and DRCongo who spoke to this publication iterated the significance of dual citizenship for people living along the borders and reported the irregularities encountered during the election,”many people found their names and photos missing from the voter registers and ended up not voting though they proved their eligibility using the identify cards,” Rwothomio said .

Worst still ,concerns emerged over inadequate humanitarian consciousness of according privilège to the elderly , pregnant mothers and people with disability who are classified as the needy and couldn’t withstand the protracted queues to access the polling services.

A section of Voters Lining Up To Cast Their Votes

Mr.Olonya Dennis Martin, a voter explained how they crowded and queued up to solely verify their names on the voter registers and noted gross delays in processes of voting and verification of the voters from the registers which was conducted at three different points within each of the eight polling areas exacerbated by the massive numbers of people,”…there are many people who came early by around 6 am ,now it’s 1pm they have not even finished with the process of voting and many people have left in manifestation of disgruntlement ……,” Oloya remarked hysterically.

Due to the vastness of Democratic Republic of Congo , insecurity and War ravaged infrastructures ,the CENI electoral commission was bound to face logistical challenges and that culminated into delays in commencement of polls and other areas of Kivu province to vote on days yet to be communicated.

Mr.Yob Ocaydubu ,a local elections observer revealed that their accreditation and acceptance letters were as well delayed and he gained access to them in the early morning hours of the day for the polls as he responded to the plight of voters who turned up without the carte d’electeur, the ID but had their names on the voter registers,”… the electoral officials only denied those whose names were not visible on the voters register but all the others voted for the different candidates,” Ocaydubu said .

About 100,000 candidates were captured on the computer assisted device with each candidate bearing numerical codes to ease the process of voting , including the current President Felix Tsheikedi who was coded number 20.

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