Electoral Commission Asks New Contestants to Submit Papers Afresh

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • September 18, 2020

The Electoral Commission (EC) has asked aspirants for newly created constituencies to submit their academic qualifications and proof of resignations from public offices before the nomination dates.

The commission also announced nomination dates for different elective positions across the country.
Following the creation of 46 new constituencies, the commission says they have completed the demarcation process and that those contesting for posts in the new constituencies must act accordingly.

“As you are aware, the EC has just concluded a nationwide exercise to demarcate parliamentary constituencies. This was brought about by Parliament’s creation of new counties, cities and new town councils and sub-counties, after the commission had rolled out the revised roadmap,” Justice Simon Byabakama, the EC chairperson, said yesterday while addressing a press conference at the commission headquarters in Kampala.

He said the purpose of the demarcation exercise was to clearly define the areas of representation to Parliament by directly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) in response to various changes in population, boundaries and numbers of constituencies prescribed in accordance with Article 63(1) of the Constitution.

He said EC noted that persons, who wish to contest for elective offices in these newly created electoral areas, have not been able to comply with the timelines issued by the commission.

“…Aspiring candidates will be required to establish their qualifications with the commission, that is, as persons holding a minimum qualification of Advanced Level or its equivalent, before the respective nomination day; For avoidance of doubt, this consideration applies to persons aspiring to contest as candidates in the above new electoral areas only,” Mr Byabakama said.

The commission also announced dates for nomination of candidates for different elective positions across the country. Mr Byabakama said nomination of candidates for local government councils will start from September 21 to October 1.

He said the nomination exercise will be followed by a campaign period leading to the polling days for the various elective positions between January 10 and February 8.

“All persons aspiring to contest in the elections are urged to familiarise themselves with the requirements for nomination for each elective position as outlined in the guidelines issued by the EC.

Furthermore, aspiring candidates can collect copies of the nomination forms and the guidelines from the district EC offices in each district across the country, or obtain soft copies of the forms and guidelines from the EC website,” he said.

Mr Byabakama also said the commission has appointed Monday, November 2 and Tuesday 3 as the dates for nomination of candidates for the 2021 presidential elections at Kololo Independence Grounds, Kampala, beginning at 10am and ending at 4pm on each of the appointed dates.

Contradicting provisions in the laws
The commission took issues with laws, both the Acts and the Constitution.

Mr Byabakama said while Article 180(2)(b) of the Constitution provides for one-third of the membership of each Local Government Council to be reserved for women, the recently passed Local Governments (Amendment) Act of 2020, provides that each electoral area, that is, sub-county and district, shall be represented by a directly-elected Woman Councillor.

“This is clearly inconsistent with the Article cited above since the said Constitutional Article was not amended. Accordingly, the commission will abide by the Constitutional provision, and nominate candidates in fulfilment of the requirement for one-third for women representation,” he said.

He also said while the Constitutional Amendment Act of 2017 removed the lower and upper age cap for candidates for President and district/city chairperson, it did not extend the same to municipality, city division, sub-county, town and municipal division chairperson.

“Accordingly, aspiring candidates for municipality, city division, sub-county, town and municipal division chairperson must be not less than 35 years and not more than 75 years of age,” he said.

Justice Byabakama warned candidates and their supporters against engaging in violence during the election period.  He urged Ugandans to shun politicians who engage in violence, encourage it and those who threaten others with violence.

Ugandans will elect 353 directly elected MPs and 146 district women representatives in 34,344 polling stations across 70,626 villages.
The above are in addition to 10 UPDF representatives, five representatives each for workers, youth, PWDs and older persons.  A total of 146 district chairpersons and 2,184 sub-counties, towns and municipal division chairpersons will also be elected.

A total of 8,439,564  representing 47.79 per cent of male voters and 9,218,963 representing 52.21 per cent of female voters will cast their votes in the 2021 General Election.