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EC extends parliamentary nomination dates

EC boss Justice Simon Byabakama. Courtesy Photo

Uganda’s Electoral Commission (EC) has adjusted its nomination schedule for the nomination of candidates for 2021 parliamentary elections following an outcry from MPs over name changes.

On October 07, deputy attorney general Jackson Kafuuzi told MPs a meeting with the EC had yielded no fruit regarding calls for extension of nomination dates.

The MPs had asked for a deferral of the exercise to allow aspirants formalize name changes since the mandatory deed poll process required some time.

But the Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama-led EC had told Kafuuzi and his team there was no time to allow an extension.

The EC insisted that conducting nomination of parliamentary candidates on October 12 and 13 would give the commission enough time to make the necessary preparations.

These included printing of ballot papers and declaration of results forms, packaging and dispatching of polling materials by January 02, 2021 as required by Article 61, Clause 2 of the Constitution.

But the MPs stuck to their guns in their demand for an extension.

For example, Ngora Woman MP Jacqueline Amongin of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) said “it would be prudent for us to make an adjustment because the justification is there and we do not want to leave out political aspirants because of a simple technicality of a name adjustment.”

Main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) MP Elijah Okupa of Kasilo County argued: “The Electoral Commission has a constituency template because they know the constituencies and if they do this work digitally, it is only a matter of inputting the data of those who have been nominated; this is an exercise that should not even last a week.”

Inconclusive, the debate in the house ended. But Parliament continued lobbying for an extension.

And on October 08, the EC announced postponement of the exercise.

“Following presentations from various stakeholders, including Parliament of Uganda, the Electoral Commission has revised the programme for the nomination of candidates for Parliamentary Elections 2021 from Monday, October 12 and Tuesday October 13, 2020, to Thursday 15th and Friday 16th, October 2020,” said Byabakama in a statement.

“The nominations shall be conducted at the respective District/City headquarters across the country, beginning at 9:00am and ending at 5:00pm on each of the appointed dates.”

Byabakama has, meanwhile, urged all parliamentary aspirants to “carefully note  the above revised programme and to prepare for nominations in accordance with the guidelines issued for the exercise.”

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