KAMPALA – Members of Parliament on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee have accused Electoral Commission of neglecting its role of manning the electoral process to the state.
According to the legislators, to some point, the state took control of the process and only let the Electoral Commission to declare the results.
The Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba said that EC has also left the responsibility of demarcating constituencies to the executive arm of government.
“Your responsibility under article 61 of the constitution is to demarcate constituencies, which responsibility you have completely left to the executive arm of government and as a result, the cost of public administration has skyrocketed, villages are turning into constituencies, sub-counties are becoming districts. Why do you continue to allow the executive to override you in that area?” asked the legislator.
The Jinja Municipality by-election winner Hon. Paul Mwiru said that the commission officials leave everything to the state and only come up when it’s time to announce the results.
Asuman Basalirwa, the newly elected Bugiri Municipality legislator also accused the commission of acting unfairly when issuing gazette notices on successful candidates, saying the process is quicker for the ruling party members and slower for the opposition.
Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda accused the EC of disqualifying opposition candidates from the race at whim without a proper reason.
However, Justice Simon Byabakama, the EC chairperson, denied the MPs accusations, saying the commission manages everything.
“We have not surrendered our mandate to the executive. We are in charge of all the electoral processes. Where we get reports of violence we act,” he said.
Byabakama referred the legislators to article 63 of the constitution that spells out the instances under which constituencies maybe demarcated, saying their mandate is only to implement what Parliament has prescribed by making sure that each constituency is represented in parliament through conducting elections.
While responding on demarcations, the Commissions’ Director of Operations, Leonard Mulekwa said that when demarcating constituencies, they look at the sub-County and the number of parishes.
He explained that a sub-county should be able to have 10 councilors in the district or they consider the size of the parish.