Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission (EC) will project results on screens at districts tally centres to enable candidates agents to see if the data on record corresponds with what features on their declaration forms.
The district tally centre is the most important stage in the tallying process because it is where results from polling stations within the district are tallied and summed up, revealing which candidate has won polls in a given district. The results are later electronically transmitted to the national tally centre for a declaration by the Electoral Commission.
The head of the Election Management Department, Umar Kiyimba says that apart from being a requirement under the law, this is a measure to enhance transparency. He says screens have already been sent to the district registrars.
Such screens did not exist in the last presidential election.
Kiyimba says that there will be four tally clerks at each district and all of them will be entering results of presidential and parliamentary candidates. These four clerks are expected to detect any error and discrepancy in the data.
“If you have one tally clerk, it’s easy to make a mistake and that mistake runs through. But four clerks cannot make the same mistake,” Kiyimba said.
The four tally clerks will have four computers which will not be on the electronic network and according to Kiyimba, entering of results will be manual while the transmission will be electronic and that the system will detect errors if tally clerks enter contradicting results.
What he did not articulately explain is how this error will be detected when computers are offline and in scenarios where presidential candidates are too weak to deploy agents. For instance, in districts such as Kiruhura, president Museveni’s home district, opposition candidates are often unable to have agents.
But Kiyimba says the EC encourages candidates to have agents. And it’s not the commission’s fault if they fail to have them. He argues that the commission’s duty is to ensure that the process is free and fair.
In such circumstances, he says “a presidential candidate without an agent at a district can use an agent of a parliamentary candidate to be his or her eyes and ears”
“It’s not the voting that’s a democracy, it’s the counting,” Archie says, from the Jupiters, a 1972 play by Tom, Stoppard. Therefore, it’s upon the election managers to uphold the highest level of transparency if the 2021 elections are to strengthen the growth of democracy in Uganda.