The Electoral Commission (EC) has said the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, is free to contest for the Sheema Municipality MP seat despite protests from his competitors.
The EC was responding to a letter from Mr David Kamukama, who intends to contest for the MP seat, alleging that Dr Tumwesigye, who is already the Sheema North MP, is not eligible since he is a public servant.
“Hon Elioda Tumwesigye cannot, by virtue of Article 175 (a) of the Constitution of Uganda as he is a public servant as he serves as such in a Ministerial position of the government and his emoluments of which are directly payable from the consolidated fund,” Mr Kamukama’s petition to the NRM EC read in part.
The petitioner also quoted Section 4 of the Parliamentary elections Act 2005, which indicates that a person holding a public office shall in the case of a general election resign his or her office at least 90 days before nomination day.
However, the EC chairman Justice Simon Byabakama wrote to Chairperson NRM EC on May 7 indicating that the law does not prohibit an MP, the President, Speaker and Vice President from contesting in any election before resigning his or her office or appointment.
“Article 257(2) (b) makes reference to an office in the public service, and does not include a reference to the office of the President, the Vice president, the Speaker of Deputy Speaker, a Minister, the Attorney General, a member of Parliament or a member of any commission, authority, council or committee established by this Constitution. The foregoing article therefore does not prohibit the holder of the foregoing office(s), in the regard a Member of Parliament, from contesting in any election before resigning his or her office or appointment,” Justice Byabakama’s May 7 letter reads in part.
As a result, Dr Tumwesigye was nominated on Tuesday at NRM party headquarters in Kyadondo Kampala to contest in NRM primaries slated for March 25.
Eight people have been nominated for Sheema Municipality MP seat. They are Mr Raymond Kamugisha, Mr Jonathan Bingonzya, Mr Jonas Tumwiine, Mr Geoffrey Mucunguzi, Mr Polly Kataate Nkwatsibwe and Mr Joseph Mwebesa, Mr Jonathan Bagonza and Dr Elioda Tumwesigye.
Three people have been nominated for the mayoral race. They are Mr Abel Atucungwire Kahara, Mr Mubangizi Kamanyire and Mr Peter Kabagambe.
On Wednesday morning a group of youth made a procession through Sheema municipality protesting the nomination of Dr Tumwesigye. “I think it is necessary for the President of Uganda to advise his minister to give up on Sheema municipality seat because Dr Tumwesigye is the current Sheema district NRM Chairman. In case he uses his magic and wins the election, the people might vote Opposition candidates because they are already fade up with his politics,’’ said Mr Mucunguzi.