On behalf of the Electoral Commission, I warmly welcome you to this first briefing, to be addressed by the new Commission.
This press briefing is preceded by a high level breakfast meeting which we held on Friday 10th February 2017, at Kampala Serena Hotel, with media proprietors and senior managers, to promote collaboration with media houses, and work together to promote civic awareness and deepen democracy through mass awareness and participation in electoral activities and governance. We are grateful to you for the partnership with the Electoral Commission through the past years which enables us to deliver on our mandate.
Allow me to commend the previous Commission on the good relationship that was built with the media fraternity. The relationship between the Electoral Commission and the media has been characterized by mutual understanding and support. This Commission seeks to build upon this strong foundation of common partnership with the media to enhance institutional working relationships for the strengthening of democracy in Uganda. I wish to assure you that this is the first of many press briefings we intend to hold with you on a regular basis, to ensure an informed and supportive electorate.
Today the Commission will update you on preparations for conducting the by-election for Member of Parliament for Aruu North County, in Pader District, an update on preparations for conducting of elections of Administrative Units Level (LC I and LC II) and Women Councils and Committees, (Village to National level).
- Programme for the By-Election of Directly Elected Member of Parliament for Aruu
North County, Pader District, 2017
The vacancy of the Member of Parliament for Aruu North County occurred when the Court of Appeal nullified the election of former MP Hon. Achiro Lucy Otim. As required by law the statutory deadline for conducting a Parliamentary by-election is sixty (60) days after notification from Clerk to Parliament on the occurrence of the vacancy.
Accordingly, the Electoral Commission has approved the electoral programme for by-election of Member of Parliament for Aruu North County, with the following key dates:
I call upon all stakeholders in this electoral area to note the following:
- Banning of fundraising activities in Aruu North County
During this by-election programme, no fundraising activities shall be allowed in Aruu North County. This is to allow a leveled-ground for all candidates in the race, and those found to be contravening the law shall be dealt with accordingly.
- Stakeholders Meeting: 24th February 2017
The Electoral Commission will hold a stakeholders meeting on Friday 24th February 2017 at Pader District Headquarters. This stakeholders meeting will involve District leaders, representatives of political parties and organisations, representatives of civil society organisations, security officials, religious leaders, opinion leaders, sub county supervisors and members of the press.
- Update of the Voters’ Register
Aruu North County currently has a total number of 41,301 registered voters and 95 polling stations. An update of the Voters’ Register will be conducted from 22nd – 27th February 2017 at update stations within each parish in Aruu County, starting at 8:00am till 6:00pm, on each of the appointed dates, including weekends.
This exercise will enable Ugandan citizens of 18 years and above, who either reside or originate in parishes within the above County, and who have not had their photographs and bio-data taken before by the Electoral Commission for purposes of registration for elections, to do so.
All registered voters who wish to transfer to new voting locations shall be able to do so during this exercise. The cut-off date for registration and/or transfer of voting location shall be 27th February 2017.
- Display of the Voters’ Register
The Electoral Commission has appointed 9th – 20th March 2017 as the period for display of the National Voters’ Register in the above Constituency. The display of the Voters’ Register shall begin at 8:00am and end at 6:00pm at all polling stations on each of the appointed dates, including weekends.
During the display, voters are urged to turn up in large numbers and
• Check for the correctness of their particulars, and
• Confirm that photographs appear against correct particulars.
Voters are further urged to report to the display officer:
• The dead,
• The non-citizens,
• The under-aged, and,
• Those who belong to another parish, so that they are removed from the Register.
There will be a display of lists of persons recommended for deletion from the Register for a period of seven (7) days, from 22nd – 27th March 2017, at the parish headquarters.
The purpose of this supplementary display is to enable any person who may have been wrongly recommended for deletion to raise an objection to the parish tribunal. The Parish Tribunal may reinstate the person if convinced of genuineness of the objection.
- Nomination of Candidates, Inspection of nomination papers, Campaigns & Polling
The nomination of candidates shall be conducted on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th March 2017, at the Office of the District Returning Officer, Pader.
The nomination will be followed by a period of six (6) days, that is, from 9th – 14th March 2017, during which members of the general public will have access to the candidates’ nomination papers, and will be able to lodge complaints, if any, on suitability of the candidates to contest in the by-election.
Campaign meetings shall be held for a period of twenty (20) days, that is, from 13th March until 3rd April 2017. The campaign meetings/rallies shall be conducted only within the stipulated time, that is, from 7:00am until 6:00pm on each of the campaign days.
All candidates are urged to observe law and order during this exercise and to conduct their campaign meetings in accordance with the harmonized programme. Hate language will not be tolerated at all.
Polling shall take place on Thursday 6th April 2017 at all polling stations in Aruu North County.
Polling shall start at 7:00am and close at 4:00pm at all polling stations.
f. Compliance with the Law
All aspiring candidates and stakeholders are advised to acquaint themselves with the relevant laws to appreciate their respective roles and responsibilities before, during and after the by-election.
- Accreditation of Election Observers
Section 16 (1) (a) of the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Act, provides for accreditation of representatives of political parties, civil society organisations and any other duly registered institution, to observe electoral activities.
For purposes of transparency, the Electoral Commission shall accredit observers to the various activities which will be undertaken during this electoral process. Accordingly the Commission invites written expressions of interest from political parties, individuals and duly registered organisations and institutions who wish to observe the said processes.
Interested political parties, individuals, organisations and institutions should submit their applications with two (2) recent passport photos to the Office of the Chairperson, Electoral Commission, Plot 55, Jinja Road, Kampala, P.O. Box 22678 Kampala, or to the Office of the District Returning Officer not later than 28th March 2017.
Please note that political parties and independent candidates shall be permitted to deploy not more than five (5) observers per sub-county, and two (2) persons at the Results Tally Center.
The Commission shall accredit election observers from 15th – 28th March 2017, and shall provide all those accredited with identification tags for the purpose of observing the various activities of the electoral process.
Please note that media personnel will be required to present valid identification from their mother media houses in order to access polling stations and the Results Tally Center.
Any individuals purporting to perform duties of or act as an observer or agent without due accreditation, will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
The Commission urges all the various stakeholders in these electoral areas to turn up in large numbers and participate in this programme, and to do so in accordance with the guidelines for each activity. This will ensure a smooth electoral exercise.
- Preparations for Conducting Elections of Administrative Units (LC I & LC II) and
Women Councils/Committees, 2017
Following the amendment of the Local Governments (Amendment) Act 2017, the Electoral Commission has commenced on preparations for conducting of elections of Administrative Units Level (LC I and LC II) and Women Councils and Committees, (Village to National level).
I wish to assure Ugandans that the Commission is progressing well with developing of the necessary guidelines for various activities that will be conducted leading to the elections. Furthermore, the Commission has made requisition to government for the funds required to conduct the elections. Accordingly, in due course, the Commission will issue the roadmap for the elections, indicating the dates for the activities as well as corresponding guidelines to guide stakeholders.
I want to emphasise that the Commission will conduct necessary voter education to ensure that stakeholders are well informed and participate meaningfully in this exercise.
I thank you,
For God and my Country,
Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon
Chairperson, Electoral Commission
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