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Nomination petitions overwhelm electoral commission

EC Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama during an interview with URN this morning at his office

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission has received more than 100 petitions challenging the nomination of Parliamentary candidates from various constituencies across the country. The nominations were concluded a week ago.

Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi explained that some of the petitions are from the National Resistance Movement- NRM and the National Unity Platform-NUP which still had unresolved disputes from the selection of official candidates. The others are persons who were disqualified for not meeting requirements for nomination as stipulated in the law. 

According to the law, a person is qualified to be a Member of Parliament if he is a citizen of Uganda, a registered voter and has completed a minimum formal education of Advanced Level standard or its equivalent. The law automatically disqualifies persons of unsound mind, those holding an office whose work is related to conducting an election, traditional or cultural leaders, the bankrupt and convicts. 

Some of the petitioners accuse the EC Returning Officers of blocking their nomination yet they believe they had fulfilled all the requirements and even paid nomination fees.  Each Parliamentary Aspirant paid three million Shillings before nomination.

Justice Byabakama said the commission is now using provisions of the Electoral Commission Act to review the petitions and take action based on the findings. He adds that the commission has powers to order the nomination of any aspirant even after closure of the general exercise.

Meanwhile, Justice Byabakama says that the overwhelming petitions will have no impact on their EC roadmap. The commission has already announced that campaigns for all nominated candidates will start on November 9, 2020, and run until January 12, 2021. Elections will then be held on January 14, 2021. 

Guidelines issued earlier by the Electoral Commission indicated that all people whose nomination was not validated shall have the right to complain against the decision to the Commission within seven days from the date of rejection and the Commission may confirm or reverse the decision of the Returning Officer within seven days from the receipt of the complaint.

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URN

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