EC Releases Guidelines On Implementation of the Roadmap For 2021 General Elections
Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon has released the following statement on the progress of the implementation of the Roadmap for the 2020/2021 General Election and it is as follows;
Demarcation of Parliamentary Constituencies and Other Activities Related to the Roadmap for 2020/2021 General Elections
As part of the preparations for the conduct of the 2020/2021 General Elections, the Electoral Commission released a detailed Roadmap on 11th December 2018. The Roadmap, which was shared with all stakeholders in the electoral process, formed the basis for the overall planning and budgeting for the General Elections.
Since the release of the Roadmap in 2018, and the issuance of a Revised Roadmap on June 16th 2020 in response to COVID-19, Parliament of Uganda has created a number of new units as follows:
a) Forty-six (46) new Counties;
b) Ten (10) new cities;
c) One (1) new district;
d) Five (5) Parliamentary seats for Older Persons; and,
e) Prescription of 353 constituencies for the 11th Parliament.
Please note that Government also created one hundred and sixty-eight (168) new Town Councils/Sub Counties after our cut-off date for creation of election areas.
For purposes of absorbing the above new creations into the General Elections 2020/2021, the Electoral Commission has had to make revisions to the electoral Roadmap to provide for the demarcation of Local Government Electoral Areas and Re-organisation of Polling Stations in the affected parishes/wards in the 168 (one hundred and sixty-eight) new Town Councils and Sub Counties located in various parts of Uganda.
The purpose for demarcation of Local Government Electoral Areas is to clearly define the areas of representation for Directly Elected Councilors and Women Councilors.
Furthermore, in accordance with Article 63(2) of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission has to conduct the demarcation of the three hundred and fifty-three (353) Constituencies were prescribed by the Parliament of Uganda on 30th July 2020, in accordance with Article 63(1).
The Commission has embarked on various processes that will culminate in the field activities for the demarcation of Parliamentary Constituencies and Local Government Electoral Areas and Re-organisation of Polling Stations in the affected entities, that will be concluded by 3rd September 2020.
The above activities will involve undertaking preparatory field work, processing data and re-aligning some of the electoral activities under the Roadmap.
As a result, the period for nomination of candidates for Local Government Council Elections, has been revised from the earlier dates of 7th – 17th September 2020, to new dates of 21st September – 1st October 2020.
The Commission calls upon on all stakeholders in the electoral process to carefully study the changes and to participate in accordance with the timelines and guidelines issued for the respective activities.
C.Guidance on Conduct of Public Political Meetings
The Electoral Commission has noted with concern the conduct of some political leaders and supporters who are organizing and/or participating in mass rallies and processions.
The Commission strongly condemns this kind of conduct which is putting the lives of Ugandans at the risk of contracting COVID-19.
We urge all stakeholders to comply with the measures put in place by the Ministry of Health to prevent and combat the spread of COVID -19 are strictly observed and should ensure social distancing, wearing of masks and washing of hands, and by avoiding public gatherings and mass rallies.
We wish to remind stakeholders of the Standard Operating Procedures which were issued by the Commission to guide the conduct of election activities under the COVID-19 environment.
As guided, candidates may organise/hold regulated campaign meetings. Conveners of such meetings and venue owners must ensure that public health safety measures and guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 are observed. Hence we advise that such meeting venues should be preferably outdoor to enable the observance of the social distancing of at least 2 meters apart for the persons attending the meeting/campaigns.
The Commission reiterates that the health and safety of citizens, voters, candidates, elections staff and other stakeholders should be the most important consideration during the entire electoral process.
D.Collection of Nomination Forms by Aspiring Presidential Candidates
In accordance with the Roadmap for 2020/2021 General Elections, the Commission started issuing nomination forms, supporter forms and nomination guidelines for Presidential Elections, on Monday 10th August 2020.
To date, thirty-one (31) aspiring candidates, including three female aspirants, have collected the above documents.
The aspirants will use the supporter forms to collect signatures indicating the support of not less than one hundred (100) registered voters in each of at least two thirds (2/3) of all the districts of Uganda. Aspiring presidential candidates are encouraged to submit the lists of supporters to the Electoral Commission for verification at least two (2) weeks before the nomination dates.
E. Update on Elections for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) Committees
The Electoral Commission is conducting elections for Older Persons, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and Youth Committees at the Village/Cell level.
Polling for Village Older Persons Committees was conducted on Tuesday 11th August 2020, in all the villages across the country where the positions were contested.
Polling for Village PWD Committees also took place on Thursday 13th August 2020, in all the villages across the country where the positions were contested.
The elections of Village Youth Committees shall take place on Monday 17th August 2020, in all the villages across the country where the positions are being contested.
The Commission wishes to appreciate the candidates and voters, and election officials who participated in the just concluded elections, for observing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which were issued to guide the conduct of elections of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) under the COVID 19 environment.
The Commission advises political parties and aspiring independent candidates to ensure safe practices during primaries and other preparatory activities. Candidates, their agents and supporters are urged to strictly follow the guidelines on public meetings as issued by the Ministry of Health and the Commission.
Finally, we call upon all Ugandans to work together to ensure safe and healthy participation in the elections.
I thank you,
For God and my Country,
Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon
Chairperson, Electoral Commission