National Unity Platform (NUP) lawyer Muwada Nkunyingi has rejected the Electoral Commission (EC) response to his request for academic documents President Yoweri Museveni used for his 2016 presidential election nomination.
Last Month, Nkunyingi of Muwada & Co. Advocates, riding on his right as provided for under provisions of the Access to Information Act and Regulations, wrote to the EC seeking to be furnished with Museveni’s academic records.
But days later, the EC Acting Secretary Leonard Mulekwah wrote back to him regarding his request.
Mulekwah told Nkunyingi the EC had declined to grant his request to release Museveni’s papers on two grounds.
EC SECRETARY LEONARD MULEKWAH RESPONDS TO MUWADDA NKUNYINGI ON MUSEVENI ACADEMIC DOCUMENTS
Mulekwah told Nkunyingi that Section 4 (15) of the Presidential Elections Act, 2005, was clear on the verification of papers such as the ones in the category under which Museveni’s fall.
“For avoidance of doubt, if a candidate has an advanced level certificate obtained in Uganda or qualifications higher than the prescribed qualification obtained in Uganda or obtained from the former University of East Africa or any of its constituent colleges, then, there shall be no need for the verification of his or her qualifications by the National Council for Higher Education,” wrote Mulekwah.
He added that the Supreme Court had ruled on the question of the legality of Museveni’s nomination for the 2016 presidential election that Amama Mbabazi had filed.
“We find that the second respondent [EC] nominated the first respondent [Museveni] as a Presidential candidate in accordance with provisions of the Presidential Elections Act,” ruled the judges of the Supreme Court.
“Accordingly, we find that there was no failure with provisions of the respondent to comply with the Presidential Elections Act.”
MUWADA NKUNYINGI RESPONDS TO ELECTORAL COMMISSION
But in a September 22 response, Nkunyingi says his request for Museveni’s papers was “precise, specific and clear,” yet the EC “deliberately misdirected itself, by offering unsolicited explanation, and interpretation.”
“I requested for copies of documents, but not an interpretation. Even therein, the Electoral Commission didn’t mention or reveal any school attended or award received by candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at an institution within or outside Uganda,” wrote Nkunyingi.
“In essence, the Electoral Commission has not complied with their obligation under the Access to Information Act to grant me access to a public record presumed to be in their possession as a public body. The same commission has issued copies of academic documents but not explanations to other Ugandans who sought similar access to similar records and under the same law.”
The lawyer has rejected the EC response, insisting he never sought explanations from the Commission but copies of records in their possession.
“The laws of Uganda have multiple options which we may explore should the commission and its officers continue to intentionally misdirect themselves and discriminate citizens,” he threatened.
“The watchful eye and the vigilance of the public will comfort us in the pursuit of constitutionalism, rule of law and independence of the electoral body.”