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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

They detained me to rob my victory: Rukutana speaks out after release from prison

Junior labour minister Mwesigwa Rukutana says his arrest and detention were meant to rob him of his victory in the Rushenyi NRM primary election.

On September 15, Ntungamo Magistrate’s Court granted Rukutana, the incumbent Rushenyi County MP, bail after he had spent a week on remand at Mityana District’s Kitalya Prison.

He had been in detention since September 05 when police arrested him and detained him at the Mbarara Central Police Station over a violent incident in Ntungamo.

Rukutana faces charges of attempted murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, threatening violence, and malicious damage to property.

Hours after court granted Rukutana bail, National Resistance Movement (NRM) Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson Dr Fred Tanga Odoi declared the MP was in the lead after a vote recount.

Dr Tanga Odoi had earlier in the day met with agents of both Rukutana and Naomi Kabasharira, the two contenders in the race.

The EC had cancelled previously announced results after it learnt that about eight polling stations had been excluded from the final tally.

The Rukutana team had also told the Tanga Odoi Commission they had incontrovertible evidence that Kabasharira had rigged the minister out.

The initial result that party election officer Maria Mirembe had announced over 10 days ago had put former Ntungamo District Woman MP Naomi Kabasharira in the lead.

Kabasharira polled 24,006 against Rukutana’s 23,996 votes. Rukutana’s agents refused to append their signatures to declaration of result forms in some polling areas.

In Rubaare Sub County’s Katabega Village, for example, Rukutana’s agents say their man had polled 174 against Kabasharira’s 102, but figure ‘4’ had been knocked off to give him 17 votes.

But a recount has now put Rukutana in the lead by 20 votes.

There was also contention in Nyakahita Cell, where declaration forms were reportedly smuggled away as supporters of the two camps fought.

At this polling station, Rukutana had garnered 172 votes while Kabasharira had managed 140, but the latter’s agents refused to append their signature to the form.

Now, Tanga Odoi told agents of the two candidates he would announce the ‘winner’ on September 17 after meeting the registrar.

He insisted Rukutana was the “leader” in the vote – for now.

MWESIGWA RUKUTANA SPEAKS OUT AFTER LEAVING PRISON

But in a statement released shortly after his release from prison, the MP maintained his innocence and blasted his enemies for plotting to rig him out.

He was upbeat because he had regained his freedom “just in time to witness a win for the people of Rushenyi, who braved the odds to cast their vote and were about to be denied victory.”

Rukutana added that he and his team “are innocent and instead victims of a calculated to provoke and rob us of our victory” but “the truth has however triumphed.”

Describibing his release from prison and declaration as leading candidate after recount as “a double win,” the minister said he was “now stronger than ever” and would refocus his energy on ensuring that NRM and President Yoweri Museveni win in Rushenyi.

Museveni had told Ugandans there was enough evidence to pin Rukutana, urging court not to grant him bail.

Meanwhile, Rukutana also called for healing and reconciliation of both camps.

Pearl Times Reporter
Pearl Times Reporterhttps://pearltimes.co.ug
Latest Uganda news, politics, business, health and entertainment coverage.

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