Moreen Katushabe, the first runner-up in the just concluded Mbarara the University of Science and Technology-MUST guild presidential election has run to the Guild Election Petition Tribunal challenging the outcomes of the September 30th, 2022 polls. Katushabe submitted her petition to the Dean of Students on Wednesday.
The dean is expected to constitute a petition tribunal to hear the petition. Katushabe, who polled 785 votes came second after Clinton Bill Nasasira with 945 votes. NRM’s Martin Nuwabine came third with 495 votes, Kenneth Nuwaha came fourth with 444 while Augustine Erima trailed the pack with 292 votes.
As a result, the MUST Electoral commission chairperson Hellenah Nagawa Luyinda declared Nasasira the 34th Guild President. However, Katushabe has rejected the poll resulting citing several irregularities and illegalities. She accuses the outgoing MUST guild president, Justus Kizito Mugenyi, and Nasasira’s supporters of electoral malpractice. In her petition, Katushabe claims that her supporters were beaten severally and Kizito was captured on video slapping her supporter.
She explains that Kizito later confirmed the incident of his Whatsapp status. According to Katushabe, the violence that transpired during the candidate’s debate session was stirred by Nasasira’s supporters with the intention of blocking the supporters of other candidates from accessing the venue. She also claims that the violence that characterized the 1st candidate’s debate prompted four candidates with the exception of Nasasira to boycott the second debate but still the Electoral Commission failed to address the issue
She also accuses Nasasira’s camp of bribing her polling agents and supporters to influence the outcomes of the polls. To prove her claims, she cites her polling agent Annah Amutusimiire who recieved various calls to accept a bribe in exchange for her vote, which is tantamount to bribery. She says that some students have since confessed to having recieved bribes from Nasasira in exchange for their votes.
Katushabe also says that her polling agents were blocked from exercising their mandate when they were never allowed to verify or sign the Result Declaration forms. She claims that when they asked the electoral officers, they were never given any response and were intimidated by supporters from the rival and threatened with eviction by rogue elements wearing Red Berets and Nasasira’s tags.
She now wants the Guild Election tribunal to declare that the electoral commission failed in its mandate to conduct free and fair elections. Katushabe also wants the tribunal to declare that Nasasira breached the Electoral Rules and Regulations when he put up campaign posters within the University premises and disqualify him. She also wants the tribunal to order fresh polls upon disqualification of the candidates who are found liable for the electoral mess.
Nasasira has confirmed receiving a copy of the petition, saying that he is ready to file a response when summoned by the tribunal. Angella Nakato, the MUST Communication officer confirmed to URN that the dean who chairs the seven-member tribunal had indeed recieved the petition. She says the dean will set a hearing date for the petition at an appropriate time.