By Monica Kobusiinge
Kampala: Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has summoned the Chairman of Electoral Commission (EC) Justice Simon Byabakama to clear the air on the exact dates when presidential and parliamentary elections will be held.
The EC had set the polling dates between January 10 and February 9, 2021, but didn’t give the specific date for the exercise.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) are not comfortable with this delay in naming the polling day, saying the uncertainty leaves them anxious on how to plan for the much-anticipated elections.
Since last month, Parliament has been debating matters to do with a need to postpone the nomination dates for the MPs because of the difficulties being faced by some of the candidates who must have their change of names gazetted before being they are nominated.
“Why is it difficult to actually name the date of the election? What is it you are hiding? This is the first time we will go into nominations without a date for elections,” Speaker Kadaga said during the seating session yesterday.
In response, Mr Jackson Kafuuzi, the Deputy Attorney General, said the polling days will be determined by the EC after nominations.
This matter was also clarified by the Attorney General after a prolonged debate, that the EC is mandated by Section 18 of the Parliamentary Elections Act and Section 16 of the Presidential Elections Act which indicates that polling dates shall be gazetted after nominations.
But Ms Kadaga overruled the AG thus; “I have had time to look at the two sections, the intention was not that polling day should be secret before being gazetted.” she said.
The issue of the change of names has also been contentious on the floor of Parliament and MPs now demand an extension of nomination dates to give time to those affected to do the required formalities. The nominations for the MPs are scheduled for October 12-13.
Mr Kafuuzi said that the EC was not able to extend the nomination for the MPs for at least a fortnight as suggested by Parliament. “The process of capture and quality assurance is planned to end on November 4, an extension of 14 days would result into this process ending on November 8,” Mr Kafuuzi said.
It is from that background that Kadaga summoned the EC chairman for an urgent meeting which was expected to happen on either Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. “If we fail to agree then the Committee will sit, otherwise the Committee should continue organizing for the meeting,” the Speaker ruled.
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