KAYUNGA- After she was trounced by her political rival, Mr Moses Karangwa, to the seat of Kayunga District NRM chairperson over the weekend, Lands state Minister Aida Nantaba yesterday announced she has quit the NRM party.
Explaining her rushed decision to quit the party she has served since she was elected MP in 2011, Ms Nantaba cited massive vote rigging “entrenched in the NRM party” declaring that she would contest as an independent candidate for the Kayunga District woman MP seat next year.
Ms Nantaba’s declaration at her home in Ndeeba near Kayunga town followed protests from hundreds of her supporters, who yesterday stormed the Kayunga District NRM office and tore NRM party cards before handing them over to the district NRM administrator, Ms Oliver Matama.
In the hotly contested election, Mr Karangwa polled 90 votes while Ms Nantaba got 53 votes and Mr Alex Kasirivu came third with only 22 votes.
However, Ms Nantaba claimed that the election held on Sunday under tight security, was rigged.
The election for the Kayunga District NRM executive flopped last week when chaos broke out mid-way into voting after both candidates accused the district registrar, Mr Fred Watuwa, of being partial.
The election was this time supervised by officials from the NRM secretariat led by Mr Sirian Bagamba, the principal elections officer of the NRM electoral commission. Ssezibwa regional police commander Deo Obura coordinated security.
However, despite the tight security, there were again scenes of chaos as, mid-way into voting at around 8pm, Ms Nantaba and her campaign agents protested the holding of the election during the night.
They unsuccessfully demanded that the poll is rescheduled to another day.
However, Mr Bagamba refused to heed to Ms Nantaba’s plea saying the election had to go on. Anti-riot police fired teargas into supporters of Ms Nantaba, who wanted to force their way into the polling station, with allegations that Mr Karangwa’s camp was involved in vote rigging.
“How can we have confidence in results that will come out of an election held in darkness? That election is null and void,” Ms Nantaba complained before being whisked away from the polling station by her security team.
However, Mr Karangwa dismissed Ms Nantaba’s claims of taking part in acts of vote rigging saying she was just scared of losing the election. Mr Bagamba also said the election was free and fair.
Speaking to supporters after being declared victor, Mr Karangwa promised to serve everyone.
“We should come together to build our party. Let us put our differences aside and work towards strengthening the NRM,” Mr Karangwa said.
In yesterday’s scuffle, the protestors claimed Mr Karangwa’s victory was marred by massive rigging and intimidation of their candidate Nantaba by gun-wielding campaign agents of Mr Karangwa, something he denies.