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MPs resist EC position on candidates names

Deputy Attorney General presented a statement on the alleged consideration by the Electoral Commission not to nominate persons whose names on the National ID differ from those on their academic transcripts. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi has told parliament that any political aspirant who changed their name after the enactment of the Registration of Persons Act, 2015 will be required to adhere to provisions of the law before nomination by the Electoral Commission (EC).

Section 36 of the Act provides for change of name of an adult and requires that any person over the age of 18 who wishes to change their name shall cause to be published in the gazette a notice of his or her intention to do so.

“Not less than seven days after the publication of the notice, the person intending to change his or her name may apply in the prescribed form to the registration officer of the registration center in which his or her birth is registered and the officer shall upon being satisfied that the requirements have been carried out amend the register accordingly and shall sign and date the amendment,” further reads the provision.

Kafuuzi on Wednesday presented a statement on the floor of parliament following a matter raised by Soroti Woman MP Angelline Osegge in regard to a decision by the EC not to nominate aspirants whose names on the national identity cards are not similar with those on their academic documents.

Kafuuzi explained that the Electoral Commission only requires evidence in accordance with requirements of Section 36 of the Registration of Persons Act from aspiring candidates who allege to have changed names after the Act came into force on 26th March 2015.

He however said that for those aspirants who changed names before the 26th March 2015 through a statutory declaration or affidavit, the presentation of a sworn affidavit shall be valid for nominations by the Electoral Commission.

But Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa said that there is need for the Electoral Commission to clarify on the clear position on change of names since the matter has different opinions from court.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga weighed in saying that the biggest culprits/victims in regard to the electoral body’s position are likely to be women aspirants since most of them adopt their husband’s names after marriage.

Wilfred Niwagaba, the Shadow Attorney General said that Kafuuzi’s statement did not address the issue previously raised on the floor of parliament. He warned that the Electoral Commission should not subject itself to unnecessary litigation by persisting with the contentious position.

Kadaga ruled that the matter needs clarification before nominations of candidates for the 2021 general election. She directed that the Attorney General interfaces with the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee immediately following MP Basalirwa’s request.

Nominations for local government positions kicked off on Monday 21st and those for Parliamentary aspirants are set to take place from 12th to 14th October.

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