Parliament had tasked the electoral commission to extend the nomination dates to allow members who want to change names or align their names through a deed poll do so without being hindered in the nominations that are scheduled for October 12-13th.
The demand follows the failure by the government to amend the Registration of Persons Act that would exempt married women who add names of their spouses from following the long process of a deed poll. This is after several MPs raised concern that for one to be nominated, it was required that the name on their national Identity card corresponds with the ones on their academic transcript.
Appearing before Parliament today, the Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi reported to Parliament that following their meeting with the Electoral Commission, the nominations cannot be extended because the Electoral Commission had completed scheduling all its activities based on timing and plans, and further extensions would affect actual elections.
He says that with nominations for parliamentary elections set for October 12-13, 2020, the process of capture and quality assurance is planned to end on November 4th, 2020 and that an extension by 14 days would result into this process ending on November 18th, 2020 which would distort the process.
Kafuuzi says that the lockdown resulted into reduced time frames within which the Commission had to execute the electoral activities of the roadmap. He adds that the adjustment did not only affect parliamentary nominations but also Special Interest Groups, Local Governments as well as presidential elections.
Although parliament also demanded to know the exact date of elections in 2021, Kafuuzi said that elections will be between January 10th and February 8th, but couldn’t give the exact date.
The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga questioned why the electoral commission cannot extend the nomination dates which mostly affects women. She said that MPs cannot be asked to nominate without a clear date of elections. She also says that the electoral commission’s failure to extend nomination goes against the affirmative action for women.
Ismael Orot, the Kanyum County MP questioned why the electoral commission has not yet given the specific date of elections yet they seem unable to adjust nomination dates. He says perhaps government was not sure if elections would even be held.
Lyandro Komakech, the Gulu Municipality MP said the entire electoral commission team should be summoned to appear before the parliamentary committee.
Although the Electoral commission said that they cannot extend the nomination days for MPs, last week they extended the nomination for LC3 councilors for three days.
The Attorney General William Byaruhanga said that the Electoral commission also told them that they had already extended the date of nominations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.