The Electoral Commission (EC) on Thursday issued a revised programme for nomination of candidates for parliamentary elections with adjustments from the earlier communicated dates of 12th and 13th October 2020 to 15th and 16th October 2020.
According to the EC Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama, the adjustments followed presentations from several stakeholders including parliament of Uganda calling for extension of nominations due to pending issues.
Parliament had tasked the electoral commission to extend the nomination dates to allow members who want to change names or align their names through a deed poll do so without being hindered in the nominations that were scheduled for October 12-13th.
The demand followed the failure by government to amend the Registration of Persons Act that would exempt married women who add names of their spouses from following the long process of a deed poll. This is after several MPs raised concern that for one to be nominated, it was required that the name on their national Identity card corresponds with the ones on their academic transcript.
In the latest communication, justice Byabakama said nominations will be held at the respective district/city headquarters across the country, begging at 9:00am ending at 5:00pm.
Appearing before Parliament on Tuesday, the Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi reported to Parliament that following their meeting with the Electoral Commission, the nominations cannot be extended because the Electoral commission had completed scheduling all its activities based on timing and plans, and further extensions would affect actual elections.
Kafuuzi said that the arrangement of the timeline is meant to give the Commission adequate time to print ballot papers and declaration of results forms, pack and dispatch polling materials by January 2nd next year in time for the polls in compliance with the constitution.
He says that with nominations for parliamentary elections set for October 12-13, 2020, the process of capture and quality assurance is planned to end on November 4th, 2020 and that an extension by 14 days would result into this process ending on November 18th, 2020 which would distort the process.
However, the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, questioned why the electoral commission cannot extend the nomination dates which mostly affects women. She said that MPs cannot be asked to nominate without a clear date of elections. She also says that the electoral commission’s failure to extend nomination goes against the affirmative action for women.
Kafuuzi says that the lockdown resulted into reduced time frames within which the Commission had to execute the electoral activities of the roadmap. He added that the adjustments due to COVID-19 did not affect parliamentary nominations but also Special Interest Groups, Local Governments as well as presidential elections.