Electoral commission chairman, Dr. Badru Kiggundu, has dismissed reports that the plane carrying ballot papers for the election stopped in Rwanda.
Addressing press Tuesday in Kampala, Kiggundu said the exercise of printing of the ballot papers for the 2016 General Elections is progressing as per the planned schedule for printing and delivery for further handling (packing and dispatch to polling stations).
On Thursday 28th January 2016, the Electoral Commission received the consignment of ballot papers for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, which were printed in South Africa.
The first consignment of 361 pallets, comprising ballot papers for Local Government Councils Elections is scheduled for arrival at Entebbe International Airport, today, Tuesday 2nd February 2016, at 4:00pm local time.
The consignment contains ballot papers for elections of District Chairpersons, District Directly-elected Councillors and Sub County Women Councillors.
“The Electoral Commission will provide more details on these deliveries later today,” he said.
“The Electoral Commission invites accredited observers, including the media, to witness the receiving of ballot papers at the airport and the other handling stages.”
Kiggundu then dismissed as utterly false, the reports by some sections of the media and particularly social media, which allege that the airplane carrying the ballot papers from South Africa, first made a detour to a neighbouring country, where some ballot papers were off loaded, before coming to Entebbe and delivering the rest of the consignment.
“This allegation is utterly baseless and false, and the Commission invites all responsible Ugandans to condemn such claims in the strongest terms possible,” Kiggundu said.
According to the flight data information by the Air Traffic control Unit at Kigali International Airport, in the past four to five days and earlier, no flight of that nature from South Africa made a stopover or landed at Kigali International Airport and the ground handling department doesn’t have recordings of the alleged flight,” Silas Udahemuka, the Director General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) said in a statement.
Kiggundu said the airway bill issued by the carrier (Ethiopian Airlines) clearly indicates the route followed by the airplane, with the airport of departure as OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa, and the airport of destination as Entebbe International Airport, Uganda.
“The Electoral Commission received the ballot papers in the specified quantities and qualities. For avoidance of doubt, a total of 15,987,800 ballot papers were delivered for Presidential Elections.”
“The above also answers related wild allegations that the Electoral Commission does not know the exact number of ballot papers that were delivered on Thursday 28th January 2016.”
Kiggundu assured all stakeholders that all processes related to preparation of ballot papers for the upcoming elections, namely, design, printing, delivery and storage have been handled with utmost integrity.
“Subsequent handling, namely packing and dispatch to the districts will follow similar strict quality control processes.”