Ukonga by-elections: Local leader blames ‘defectors’ for low voter turn-out

Sunday September 16 2018


By Mosenda Jacob @TheCitizenTZ

Dar es Salaam. The Kigezi local government chairman in Buyuni ward, Mr Suleimani Kyumbo has attributed the low voter turnout in the Sunday September 16 by-elections is Ukonga constituency, to voters’ apathy.

He said a handful of people were turning out to vote at Kigezi polling station because most of them were tired of all-time by-elections in the country which are mostly being held because of the tendency of politicians defecting from opposition to the ruling party.

Speaking to The Citizen at his office, Mr Kyumbo said most of the youths ignored the exercise “because of the tendency of the same MPs giving up their entrusted jobs and vying again for same seats in another party.

"I am also surprised with the slow response to this election even after we made efforts to mobilize people.  Most youth think it’s a waste of time to go to vote for people who will eventually stop serving them before even their term ends," he said.


However, by the time he spoke to The Citizen, Mr Kyumbo remained optimistic that the turnout would improve in the afternoon.

"We hope that people will come out in the afternoon after getting out of their churches," he said.

For his part,  Mr Moses Mbaga (28) a resident at Buyuni ward said that he had no motivation to vote for leaders he termed as, “defectors.”

"This is my voter identification card, (showing it by hand) but because it’s wastage of money to carry out unnecessary elections, I cannot waste my energy to vote for people who have their own interests," he said.


Mr Mbaga was of the opinion that political leaders were no longer interested in serving the people but had their own agenda.

"Why should I vote for somebody who is no longer interested in solving my problems? I am using this time to only work hard as the current slogan states 'Hapa Kazi Tu'  this is what I am obliged to do now and not depending on defectors," lamented.

Further Mr Thomas Kija, a returning officer at Kigezi polling station in Buyuni ward said the number of those who turned out to vote was far less from the total number of registered voters.

"At this station we have a total of 16,000 registered voters, but until now we haven't reached even 200," he said, adding that most of those who turned out were elderly persons.