New members of the electoral commission vetted as the opposition boycotts
The Appointments Committee of Parliament has vetted the newly appointed bosses of the Electoral Commission (EC).
The Parliament committee chaired by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, vetted the six member team despite a boycott from opposition MPs. The new EC team was nominated by President Yoweri Museveni.
Justice Simon Byabakama (Chairperson), Hajjati Aisha Lubega (Vice Chairperson) and Commissioners; Peter Emorut, Steven Tashobya, Prof George Piwang and Mustapha Ssebaggala Kigozi faced the committee on Monday.
Speaking to journalists at parliament shortly after his vetting, Byabakama appealed to parliament to help the commission by addressing the key challenges that stand in the way of free and fair elections.
Byakabakama pointed out delays in making electoral reforms and the allocation and passing of sufficient funds to facilitate the electoral process.
“If confirmed by parliament, our immediate undertaking will be to revive the tainted image of the elections body. The negative perceptions that have prevailed in the minds of the public about the commission need to be addressed,”said Byabakama.
Fellow nominated EC commissiner Tashobya added that he wants parliament to consider comprehensive electoral law reforms to help the electoral commission in delivering a free and fair election come 2021.
Tashobya says the 1995 Constitution needs an overhaul so that the views of Ugandans as recently compiled by a consortium of NGOs are incorporated.
“As the chairperson of the parliament legal and parliamentary affairs in the 9th parliament, we were supposed to do nationwide consultations on electoral reforms, but there wasn’t enough time,” said Tashobya.
Oppositions MPs boycot
Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza, the Democratic Party chief whip Joseph Sewungu Gonzaga, Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye, Gulu woman MP Betty Aol Ochan and Oyam woman MP Alum Santa Ogwang.
Kiiza said that they could not be party to vetting nominees whose nomination was not done in good faith by the president.
Kiiza explained that the Inter-party organization for dialogue that brings together political parties in Parliament, including the ruling NRM party, agreed that the new Electoral Commission would only be appointed after electoral reforms are made.
However, the Kiiza says, the president went against the agreed position and nominated new members of the Electoral Commission.
“In a meeting, the IPOD council had with Museveni in July this year, he made an undertaking that there would be a dialogue on the election of new EC commissioners, but he just went ahead. We cannot take his lies,” said Kiiza.
If successfully vetted, the nominees are supposed to be sworn in by the President and assume office immediately.