KAMPALA – The Electoral Commission (EC) has declined to heed to pleas by MPs on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to extend the registration of voters who would have made 18years, saying it would disrupt the 2021 general elections.
The revelation was made by Justice Simon Byabakama, Chairperson Electoral Commission while appearing before the Committee to respond to complaints raised by MPs who said the decision by the Commission to end voter registration in December 2019 ahead of voting in 2021 would disfranchise voters who would have made 18years after the registration exercise was closed off a year ahead of elections.
Justice Byabakama said, “We have given exhaustive and careful consideration to that request. We haven’t been able to ascend to that request for reasons contained in our presentation.”
It should be recalled that last week, the Legal Committee tasked the Electoral Commission together with the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice and Constitution Affairs to come up with statutory instruments on the election road map.
Director Operations at the Electoral Commission, Leonard Mulekwah defended the decision not open up registration of voters again arguing that the administrative units have increased by 47% from the 2016 elections and the increment has posed an enormous task to organise the 2021 general elections and the Commission won’t be able to open the voter register and would only be in position to adjust timelines for Presidential and Parliamentary nomination dates.
The Committee had also asked the Commission to revise the dates for the nomination of candidates for both presidential and parliamentary positions, a call that was heeded to and revised from August to October 2020 after complaints that long periods of campaigns would affect the economy.
The Electoral Commission, however, declined to extend nomination dates for local council positions, saying the units have increased in number.