Kampala, Uganda | IAN KATUSIIME | A team from the Electoral Commission (EC) led by its chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama paid a visit to The Independent on March 26 as part of its ongoing efforts to engage the media on the 2021 election road map.
Accompanying chairman Byabakama were EC Deputy Chairperson Hajjat Aisha Lubega, Secretary to the EC, Sam Rwakoojo, EC Public Relations Officer Jotham Taremwa, Commissioner Sebaggala Kigozi, and three other fellow Commissioners.
Byabakama assured staff of The Independent in a meeting that the EC was determined to engage all stakeholders particularly the media, address some of the issues that surround election management and build strong partnership with media houses.
The meeting was attended by Independent Publications Limited (IPL) Managing Director Andrew Mwenda, Managing Editor Joseph Were, Reporters; Ian Katusiime, Julius Businge, Haggai Matsiko and Ronald Musoke. Charles Kankya IPL General Manager, Human Resource Manager David Hamya and Peter Kusiima, sales executive also attended.
Byabakama said the EC intends to organise trainings for journalists on various aspects of election handling and management. “We are also liaising with security agencies to find mechanism on preventing election violence where journalists. Safety of people should not become an issue simply because elections are being held,” he said.
Taremwa, the EC PRO also urged journalists to exercise responsible reporting during election periods. Meanwhile Rwakoojo clarified on the issue of the delay of ballot boxes in some parts of Kampala in the 2016 general election. “It was an issue of not having enough cars to transfer ballot boxes to the respective areas. It was never intentional.”
EC officials also revealed that Kampala having the highest number of polling stations makes management of polling materials for Kampala difficult.
Mwenda advised the EC to establish a Research and Data Unit to aggregate various forms of data on elections ranging from 1996 to 2016. “Statistics will help you in making your case whenever you are challenged on election numbers.”