Firms cry foul over Uganda ballot paper deal as campaigns intensify

Monday December 14 2015

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto campaigning at Barawa Parish, Kapchorwa town council in Kapchorwa district on December 9, 2015. Uganda's opposition has criticised Mr Ruto of meddling in the country's affairs. PHOTO |



Two firms locked out of a tender to print and supply ballot papers have petitioned the Public Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) to review the deal.

Ren-Form CC Printers from South Africa and UK’s Kalamazoo Secure Solutions also accuse the Electoral Commission of being bias when conducting a review ordered by the procurement tribunal.

The tribunal said the companies used the right channels when paying administrative fee, one of the grounds the agency used to disqualify them. The row over the tender exploded in September.

The tribunal, chaired by Ms Olive Zaale early last month directed PPDA boss Cornelia Ssabiti to accord the companies a fair hearing.

Subsequently, PPDA directed EC to conduct a review of the tender.


EC Secretary Sam Rwakoojo wrote back to the companies, telling them that their claims were unwarranted.

One of the claims was that none the shortlisted bidders had the experience of printing 15 million ballot papers.


Meanwhile, campaigns for the February presidential elections are going on in earnest.

Dr Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change promised to review of the constitution and make Uganda a federal republic.

Dr Besigye, who was campaigning in Mityana and Mubende districts, said the aspirations of many Ugandans had not been respected despite expressing them during the Constitution making in 1994 and review in 2004.

“We want to see government departments that serve the dictator transformed,” he said, adding that the judiciary, police and electoral agency would be overhauled.

In Bududa, President Yoweri Museveni rejected demands to recognise Babukusu - a breakaway kingdom of Bugisu - saying he would set up a team chaired by PM Ruhakana Rugunda to look into the matter.


Tension has been brewing in Bugisu since the September 2013 installation of Wash Joseph Kanyanya as the Umukhungu (king) of Bukusu.

Kanyanya wants Bukusu kingdom carved out of Inzu Ya Masaba Bamasaba Cultural institution. Umukhungu has not been recognised by the government.

Museveni was confronted by Kanyanya’s followers at Bulucheke.

The President said he would not act “impulsively like Idi Amin”. “I will not recognise this kingdom until the PM completes his investigation,” he said.

The NRM candidate promised road equipment to every district in Uganda. Bugisu is mountainous and prone to heavy rains which often destroy roads.

(READ: Museveni refuses to comment about his main rivals Besigye and Mbabazi)

In Hoima, activists asked the electoral commission and police to investigate claims that Kibaale Woman MP Robinah Nabanja bribed her opponents to step down for her.

Nabanja’s challenger Esther Turyasingura withdrew from the race in unclear circumstances.

Already 11 NRM MPs will join the tenth parliament unopposed.

Independent candidate Patrick Amama Mbabazi found it tough to campaign in Rukungiri, Besigye’s home district.

When he arrived at around 6pm, a group of youth went on with their volleyball game, a few metres from the dais.

As he was about to start talking, a truck full of youth arrived and its occupants continuously flashed the victory sign and cheering every time he mentioned Besigye.


In Kabale, he took a swipe at Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto for involvement in Uganda’s affairs.

“On what basis does he say Museveni has performed well?” Mbabazi asked.

In Kampala, the leader of the Conservative Party and MP for Lubaga South John Ken Lukyamuzi has scoffed at those saying he had been bribed by Museveni to stop exposing ills in the government.

Mr Lukyamuzi, who is contesting for the fourth time, said that while launching his campaign manifesto in Najjanankumbi.

“How can I support Museveni yet the people he leads are wallowing into poverty? Corruption is becoming worse daily. He must go. We need fresh blood to propel Uganda forward,” he said.

He said he backed Besigye as opposed to Mbabazi because there is no need of supporting someone who insists he is an NRM member yet this party does not care about ordinary citizens”.