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Electoral Commission issues warning against parallel tally centers

EC chair Justice Byabakama. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission has said it doesn’t want political parties and opposition candidates to have parallel election results tally centers.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday as he flagged off electoral materials to districts, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, the Electoral Commission chairman said that under the law, there is only one recognized tally center, that is the national tally center for the presidential elections and the district tally centers for the parliamentary and other categories of elections.

According to Byabakama, he doesn’t understand the rationale of any party having a parallel tally center which is not provided for in the law. He said those who will go against this directive and use these centers to declare results, a preserve of his commission, security will have no other option but intervene.

Byabakama said his commission is by law commanded to give every candidate a copy of the declaration form of results from each polling station so that they know what everybody has scored at what polling station.

“We want to encourage the political parties to get declaration of results forms from each polling station and wait for the results as declared by the Electoral Commission then you can compare with your declaration forms whether what we have released is different from what you have on the declaration forms,” Byabakama said.

On Tuesday, political parties met at Hotel Africana and announced plans that included among others having a joint tally center to tabulate their results. In previous elections, the government using security organizations thwarted any efforts by political parties and even media organizations from having a parallel tally center.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network at the sidelines of the function to flag off the ballot materials to districts, Crispy Kaheru who has an interest in electoral processes said that there wouldn’t be a problem for parties to have parallel tally centers for as long as they don’t use them to declare results ahead of the Electoral Commission.

Paul Kisambira who represented the Forum for Democratic Change at the Electoral Commission to witness the packing of the electoral materials wondered what the role of the declaration forms would be if they don’t use them to tabulate their votes. He said as a party, they will move forward with their plans of having a tally center.

Joel Ssenyonyi, the National Unity Platform spokesperson said irrespective of what Byabakama says, they will have a tally center.

“I can assure you that we are going to have a tally center to add our votes. If the police invade it, they will be invading a wrong place because they will not know where it is,” Ssenyonyi said.

Byabakama also announced that cameras of any sort will not be allowed at the polling stations.

Ugandans will go to the polls to elect the president and Members of Parliament next week on Thursday.

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