KAMPALA – The Electoral Commission (EC) is looking for UGX72b for a new home ahead of the 2021 elections to pave way for the construction of the Kampala Flyover, Jinja Expressway and the Standard Gauge Railway projects whose routes will all pass through the current Commission’s headquarters at Jinja Road.
Mr. Sam Rwakoojo, the EC secretary, while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to present the Commission’s budget proposals, also blasted the ministry of Finance for defying President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to have the funds availed.
He told the Committee that the Commission needs decent offices to relocate to and be able to deliver its mandate of conducting transparent regular free and fair elections that contribute to the deepening of democracy and good governance and this would cost UGX72b.
“However, no provision was made in the MTEF for the financial year despite the presidential directive to the ministry of Finance to provide the required funds. The Commission requires ample time to shift the heavy sensitive and delicate printer and IT equipment and systems before the commencement of electoral activities as per the roadmap,” Mr. Rwakoojo said.
Mr. Hamson Obua (Ajuri County) asked the EC chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama if there are sanctions in the law against individuals who participate in elections and when they end up losing, they disregard results and they end up forming parallel governments.
Mr. Byabakama said: “Let us look at the law. What is the legitimacy of any parallel government? I don’t want to comment on that.”
Asked if the Commission is bothered by the numerous election petitions and how this is impacting on the credibility of Uganda’s electoral system, Mr.Byabakama told MPs: “We try our level best to ensure we conduct elections in free and fair manner in accordance with the law. I think going to court is the right thing to do for those not satisfied. We would love to have elections with outcomes that aren’t challenged.”
He added that there is a need for stakeholders to come up with measures to deal with electoral challenges:“We can address these issues that keep reoccurring but bribery isn’t a role played by EC and use of abusive language.”