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President Museveni assents to four electoral laws

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ephraim Kamuntu has confirmed that President Yoweri Museveni has assented to the recently enacted Electoral Bills. This was during the Thursday plenary session chaired by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.

Kamuntu told Parliament that the President assented to the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, The Political Parties and Organizations (Amendment) Bill, the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, and the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill.

He however said that the President declined to assent to the Local Government (Amendment) Bill. However, the Minister did not give reasons why the President did not assent to the specific Act of Parliament.

The key amendment made by parliament in the Local Government (Amendment) Bill was a requirement for political heads of urban councils to have a minimum of Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education -UACE or its equivalent. These currently have no set qualification apart from Local Council Five chairpersons required to have a senior six certificate.

This amendment by Parliament was not originally in the proposed amendments by government and it came with a justification that these urban councils are self-accounting hence the need for educated leaders that are charged with political supervision of highly qualified technical staff.

The delayed assent to the Electoral Bills had for the last two weeks stirred unease among political players ahead of the 2021 general election. All the five bills which were passed by Parliament between February and March 2020 are key legislation’s in guiding aspirants, candidates and managers of the electoral process and the public during the 2021 electoral season.

The Justice Minister had on different occasions been tasked to explain the delays by the President in assenting to laws that are time-bound and in her recent directive, Speaker Kadaga demanded the Minister to appear today and give answers.

Presidential candidates will now be required to declare their source of funding within 14 days after nomination by the Electoral Commission (EC). Polling time remains between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm and campaigns will run from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Distribution of election materials by the electoral body will be done within 48 hours before polling time. Elections in all-new administrative units created after the 2021 general election will have to wait for the next general election to have their leaders elected.

Any returning officer who shall be responsible for elections in an area where results are cancelled by Court on grounds of electoral malpractices shall be removed from office under the new electoral laws and others.

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