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Sembabule NUP candidate protests party decision blocking her withdraw

Zaituni Yahaya Babikola. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Zaituni Yahaya Babikola, the National Unity Platform-NUP Sembabule Woman parliamentary candidate has petitioned Electoral Commission protesting her party’s decision to block her withdrawal from the race.

She wants the Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama to intervene in the misunderstanding in which she accuses the NUP leadership of forcing her into a political contest where she lost interest.

Babikola who also doubles as the Sembabule NUP coordinator is one of the two candidates who were nominated for the woman parliamentary race. Her soul rival is NRM’s Mary Begumisa. However, on October 30th, Babikola wrote to the NUP secretariat and EC withdrawing from the Sembabule Woman parliamentary elections saying she doesn’t have funds to push through with the campaigns.

She also faulted the NUP secretariat for failure to reimburse the money she spent to establish the party structures and coordination committees in the area. She accordingly requested the NUP secretary-general David Lewis Rubongoya to formally inform EC to deregister her name, a request that has since been rejected.

In his response, Rubongoya indicates that the NUP campaign management organ and the Executive Committee declined to approve Babikola’s request to step down from the race on grounds that they were not convinced by the reasons advanced by the applicant.

He said the party organs instead prefer that the candidate continues with the contest as they inquire into her reasons for stepping down and find a solution for them. This hasn’t gone down well with Babikola. In her letter that Electoral Commission security registry received on November 06th, 2020, Babikola protests what she describes deliberate failure by NUP to comply with the laws that require them to give her authorization to quit the race on her request.

She argues that she had complied with provisions of Section 19(1) and (2) of Parliamentary Election Act 2005, which require a candidate intending to withdraw from the race to have the notice supported by three registered voters from the constituency, the candidate was nominated for.

“The purpose of this letter is to request for your assistance and intervention in this matter as to why the secretary general has failed to comply with the electoral laws and seek your further guidance in this matter,” the petition reads in part.

Sections 10 and 11 of the same law binds candidates sponsored by political parties to decisions of their respective parties that presented them for nomination for election. Prior to her withdraw notice to EC, the NUP mobilization committee chaired by Hajj Muhammad Ssemanda petitioned the party secretariat  on Nov 1st, 2020 complaining about Babikola’s suspicious conduct.

These also demanded that she is investigated for selling out her candidature, allegations she has vehemently denied.

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