Bukedea RDC, DPC and GISO Remanded Over Election Violence

The court has remanded key security officials in Bukedea district to prison for their alleged involvement in the chaos that marred the Bukedea LC V Chairperson by-election.

The suspects appeared before the Bukedea Grade One magistrate Juliana Kimono on Monday. They are the Bukedea Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Wilberforce Tukei, the District Police Commander (DPC) Charles Okoto, and the Gombolola Internal Security Officer (GISO) Maimud Oluka.

The RDC and DPC face charges of neglecting their duty to prevent a felony, while the GISO and Bukedea Town Council LC V Councilor, Dan Malinga, are charged with simple robbery and assault of David Stephen Omagor, a former aspirant for the Bukedea by-election.

The trio was arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit last week following investigations ordered by President Yoweri Museveni into the violence that occurred during the Bukedea LCV by-election in June 2023.

The RDC and DPC were apprehended on Monday and taken to Kampala, while the GISO surrendered to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit on Friday.

According to the charge sheet presented in court, the RDC and DPC, who were the chairperson and member of the District Security Committee respectively, failed to take action when Omagor was assaulted at the Electoral Commission offices in Bukedea on June 6, 2023.

The accused individuals allegedly had knowledge of the planned attack but did not intervene when Malinga and others, who are still at large, robbed Omagor of 9 million Shillings and his nomination documents. Furthermore, the RDC and DPC are accused of not addressing the widespread acts of intimidation and assault against candidates, polling agents, journalists, and voters during the by-election.

On the other hand, the court heard that the GISO personally participated in the assault and robbery of Omagor’s cash and documents on the day of his nomination.

The attack and robbery of Omagor occurred at the gate of the Electoral Commission in Bukedea, in the presence of police officers who were assigned to guard the premises. This incident followed a previous attack on Omagor the night before his nomination, on June 5, 2023, during which individuals dressed in military uniforms allegedly stole 163 million Shillings, a wristwatch valued at 84 million Shillings, and his nomination papers.

Due to the severity of his injuries, Omagor missed his nomination and had to be flown to Nairobi for medical treatment. With the GISO’s arrest and appearance in court, a total of nine security officials and local leaders have now been arrested in relation to the Bukedea LCV by-election. The election was marred by numerous irregularities, including alleged ballot stuffing, intimidation, and violence. All the accused individuals have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been remanded to Soroti Main Prison until July 26, 2023, when their cases will be mentioned in court.

The accused, who had prepared sureties anticipating bail, have been instructed to apply for bail when they return to court later this month.

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