By Frank Kamuntu
The Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, this morning briefed journalists at a press conference held at the Commission’s headquarters on plot 55 Jinja Road, about various methods the Commission is to use to ensure that all eligible voters vote in the 2021 election.
He noted that the voters register is to be considered as a crucial requirement for one to vote and also updating system is to help the EC avoid various challenges that have always been affecting voters during elections.
Byabakama, who was accompanied by Hajjat Aisha Lubega, the Deputy Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Tashobya Steven a Commissioner, Sebaggala Mustafa Kigozi, Taremwa Jotham, the EC spokesperson, P among others, revealed that as one of the ways to acquire new skills on conduction of upcoming elections, they have organized a symposium on strengthening the electoral processes in Uganda which will be scheduled on 4th-5th December 2019 at tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia’s Speke Resort Munyonyo, to be attended by over 200 people
Byabakama said that “The upcoming symposium will serve as a national forum to draw lessons from other countries on fostering successful election exercises and also reflect on the effort by the Electoral Commission and other partner institutions in preparing general elections, which will generate recommendations on improving election management and also create space for citizens’ dialogue and awareness on democratic elections.”
Among the invited guests to attend the symposium will be Secretary Generals of Registered Political Parties, heads of parliamentary committees, Ministry Representatives, Private Sector Representatives, Departments and Agencies, Civil Society, Academia and Research institutions, all aiming at sharing experience in electoral progresses in the region and beyond.
Byabakama also commented on the progress of the general update of the national voters’ registration and all emerging issues since its commencement from November 21, 2019.
The exercise still has only seven days to be concluded in all parishes.
He said they have discovered some people gone for confirmation at update stations where unfortunately their names do not appear in the registers, misrepresentation of their positions on the use of national identification during the electoral processes among other issues.
He urged the public to carefully observe the ongoing registration of citizens who are eligible to vote, application for transfer of voting location, Confirmation of registration particulars, and during this period the details of students who were registered under the learners project in 2017 and have now attained the age of 18 years will be updated at Update centers by submission of their ID.
Other activities to be covered include update of registers of special group interests that will include National youths Voters’ Register for election of youth councils and committees, the workers voters register for election of representatives to parliament, National Older Persons voters register for election of older person’s councils and committees.
Justice Byabakama urged all citizens to rush quickly to National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) to sort out the issue of ID’s so as to be registered and after registration and updating their details they will be given a Voters Location slip, with details of the voter, which will be presented to the polling station on the day of voting.
Byabakama angrily warned all LC 1 chairpersons who are asking citizens for money in order to be confirmed as citizens, saying this is illegal and once one is caught theywill be punished thoroughly for such devilish actions.
The Electoral Commission initiated the General Update of the National Voters’ Register which is conducted following article 61 (1)(e) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (as amended), and Sections 18 and 19 of the Electoral Commission Act (Cap 140) begun from 21 November 2019 and will end Wednesday 11th December 2019, starting from 8:00am to 6:00pm, on each of the appointed dates, including weekends.
The Electoral Commission will register eligible Ugandan citizens of 18 years and above whereby registered voters who wish to transfer to new voting locations will be able to apply for such transfer by presentation of confirmation that he/she originates from or is, at the time of application for transfer, a resident of the Parish of that (new) voting location and have details of their previous voting location