By Vision Reporter
The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen. Katumba Wamala polled the highest number of votes in Friday’s election of the new 10 Army representatives to the next Parliament. He gained the highest number of votes even in the previous election.
Gen. Katumba was re-elected after polling 258 votes out of the 1,864 total votes cast. He was followed by Capt. Flavia Byekwaso, who scored 243 votes; Capt. Byekwaso is among the new 10 army MP entrants to Parliament.
Other new army officers joining Parliament are Maj. Gen. Pecos Kutesa the chief of military doctrine, Lt. Gen. Ivan Koreta, Col. Felix Kulayigye, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Chief Political Commissar, Col. Francis Takirwa, the chief of operations and Capt. Evelyn Asiimwe.
The election exercise conducted by the Army council in conjunction with the Electoral Commission (EC) on Friday at the Land Forces headquarters in Bombo, saw Maj. Gen Pecos Kutesa poll 127 votes, Col. Kulayigye 167 votes, Lt. Gen. Koreta 195 votes and Col. Takirwa 135 out of the 1,864 total votes cast.
According to the declaration forms seen by Sunday Vision, the Army women MPs were voted differently, with Capt. Flavia Byekwaso polling the majority votes at 243, followed by Capt. Evelyn Asiimwe with 159 votes and Capt. Suzan Lakot who scored 150 votes out of the 795 total votes cast.
The elections were presided over by EC official, Joshua Wamala, the returning officer for UPDF’s Parliamentary elections. Also present, was President Yoweri Museveni, the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and Eng. Badru Kiggundu, the EC chairman.
Museveni nominated 30 UPDF officers from whom representatives in the 10th Parliament were elected by secret ballot.
Commenting on last month’s Presidential elections, the president said much as the Opposition claims that the results of 1,700 polling stations had not been tallied before the final announcement was made by the Electoral Commission on his victory; he said he would still win even if the results from those polling stations had been included.
The election, however, saw some of the incumbent Army MPs in Parliament lose their seats, despite their desire for re-election.Those who were not re-elected include; the deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, Maj. Gen. Julius Oketta and, Gen. Jim Owoyesigire.
According to the declaration form, Gen. Oketta scored 34 votes, Lt. Gen. Angina 103, and Owoyesigire 75 votes. Other incumbents, Brig. Phinehas Katirima and Maj. Sarah Mpambwa, did not seek re-election.
“The exercise was free and fair, the President nominated 30 candidates, with instructions that out of the elected Army MPs, three are female and the other seven male representatives,” one of the army offcers, who preferred anonymity, told Sunday Vision.
The voting which started at 1:00pm, however, saw the Army council also re-elect Brigadier Innocent Oula with 105 votes, Capt. Susan Lakot with 150 votes and longest serving army MP Gen. Elly Tumwine with 105 votes Representatives of the Army are chosen by the Army council, which includes members of the Army high command, directors of military services, commanding officers of brigades, battalions and officers commanding equivalent military units.
The election of the 10 Army representatives to Parliament is provided for in the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005 and the Constitution.
The Army’s representation in Parliament started in 1994, as a way of involving the Army in the country’s political process in order to guarantee stability.
There have been calls from mainly the Opposition and civil society organisations for the army to quit Parliament.