Kiggundu in the dock over election rigging

Electoral Commission boss Badru Kiggundu

Electoral Commission boss Badru Kiggundu

Electoral Commission chairman Dr Badru Kiggundu was Monday put in the dock [witness stand] at Supreme Court in Kololo to be cross examined by Amama Mbabazi lawyers.

Amama’s lead lawyer Muhammad Mbabazi grilled Kiggundu.

This is how the live session went down:

Kiggundu [swears on Koran]: In the name of Allah… evidence I’ll give shall be the truth and nothing but the truth

Dr. Badru Kiggundu recounts the tallying process right from the polling station

Dr. Kiggundu says that DR forms leave polling stations in a tamper-proof envelope and are scanned at district headquarters

“Results are read out before candidates’ agents and those present before they’re transmitted”

Kiggundu: Tally sheets are scanned and emailed to the EC. They are not screened due to financial funding

CJ says witness (Kiggundu) was clear when he said he is not a lawyer and that counsel Mbabazi had moved away from law questions

Dr Kiggundu says he didn’t reinvent anything, adds that Uganda follows the same electoral process as Ghana

Counsel Mbabazi insists they asked for the list of the first 580 polling stations that made first provisional announcement

EC lawyer maintains that all information requested for by Mbabazi lawyers (return, DR forms and tally sheets) were availed

EC lawyer: Even those 580 polling stations [counsel Mbabazi is asking for] are contained in information we provided

Mbabazi: I thought he would have the list [580 stations]

CJ Katureebe: You didn’t ask for it

CJ Katureebe: I suggest that you answer the question. You are going too far into background

Kiggundu: I have information that at almost 50% of polling stations, petitioner (Mbabazi) did not have agents

Dr. Kiggundu says all EC actions were strictly under the law “as it is”

Dr. Kiggundu says he doesn’t know the exact number of people who were verified by the biometric voter verification machines

Dr. Kiggundu says the biometric machines were not designed to provide the number of people verified.

Counsel Mbabazi argues that the biometric voter verification machines store data on their SD cards.

Kiggundu: There are some people who voted without being verified by the biometric machines.

Kiggundu: Please don’t make me lose my head. CJ: Please don’t lose your head. No one wants it.

Counsel Mbabazi: A system which is capable of stopping multiple voting, isn’t it capable to yield results?

Dr Kiggundu says funding limitations prevented EC from acquiring machines that can provide results

Counsel Mbabazi: If you don’t have the number of verified voters, then where is the transparency needed from the machines?

Dr. Kiggundu admits that ability of biometric machines to provide total of those verified should be added in future

CJ: If you didn’t have an agent at that station, how did you get the DR form? Mbabazi: You get ways of getting it

Dr. Kiggundu says he is not in position to confirm whether presented copy of DR form from Wakiso is genuine or not

Dr. Kiggundu: The documents I shared with you are the foundation of the announced results

Mbabazi: I want the scanned DR forms

Kiggundu: When do you want them? They are on various servers

Mbabazi lead counsel Mbabazi continues proceedings with issue of retired voters’ register (NVR)

Dr Kiggundu answers in the affirmative on whether the old NVR was retired

Dr. Kiggundu: We sat with government and decided to use the national ID & discard the voters’ card

Dr. Kiggundu: The coming of the national ID, considered as multi-purpose, meant that the voters’ cards be discarded

Mbabazi: When was NVR gazetted?

Kiggundu: You are over-tasking my brain. I can’t remember the date but it was done in time

Dr. Kiggundu: Apart from Kampala and Wakiso, majority of areas received voting materials in time

Dr. Kiggundu: Kampala, Wakiso received materials late and I apologised from the bottom of my heart.

Dr Kiggundu says despite late arrival of materials in Kampala, Wakiso, over 50% of voters voted given extension

Dr Kiggundu says it took only 30secs for voters to be verified, not 2mins as widely claimed

Dr Kiggundu says within 30secs, a voter said his/her name and they were verified by the biometric machine

Dr. Kiggundu reiterates that biometric machines curbed multiple voting across the country.

Counsel Mbabazi says he needs 3 more minutes as Dr. Kiggundu remains in the witness stand

Lawyers Severino and Basalirwa now grill Kiggundu

Mbabazi lawyer Severino Twinobusingye continues with Dr. Kiggundu’s cross-examination

Dr Kiggundu tells court that agents didn’t have access to scanned DR forms that were transmitted

Mbabazi lawyer Basalirwa: What happened to the data of the NVR that you retired?

Kiggundu: This was not first time we retired a register. In 2005 and 2006, we retired registers to keep up with technology

Dr. Kiggundu says the retired National Voters’ Register (NVR) is in the archives

Kiggundu: Right now, we are not registering new voters but as we get into by-election syndrome, there’ll be an opportunity

Dr. Kiggundu says registration of those seeking to be added to NVR follows public announcements

Counsel Basalirwa: How does one get de-registered?

Kiggundu says de-registration happens after voters report that either someone left the country or died & claim is verified

Counsel Basalirwa wonders whether Norbert Mao was de-registered through the elaborated process.

CJ Katureebe says Mao’s de-registration is not a matter before court: “I don’t see the relevance of that.”

Basalirwa: Law says EC will “compile, maintain, revise & update NVR”. Where does retire come from?

Dr. Kiggundu: There are functions that we derive from the broader interpretation of the law. It’s not black & white.

Kiggundu: As per law, if the agent chooses not to sign, that doesn’t invalidate the results

Dr. Kiggundu: Agents are supposed to provide reasons why they didn’t signs Basalirwa: Were those reasons given?

Kiggundu asked to expound further on what happens when the NVR is retired.

Dr. Kiggundu says 2001 NVR was retired and de-gazetted because it was partly handwritten and typed out

Kiggundu reiterates earlier statement, says 2006 NVR was retired to adopt another yielded through biometric technology

Court then adjourned for lunch.  

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