Monday, December 14, 2015

Uganda: 15 million eligible to vote in 2016 elections

A total number of 15,277,196 voters has been compiled and registered in the National voters’ register to be used in the 2016 Uganda General Elections.  Those appearing in the National Voters’ Register will be allowed to cast their votes at 28,010 polling stations distributed across the country.

However, Ugandans in the Diaspora; who did not come home to register during the stipulated period of the registration process of voters will miss out. Only persons whose particulars appear on the National Voters   Register are eligible to participate in the on-going electoral processes, including nomination to an elective position.

Eng. Dr. Badru Kiggundu, Chairperson, Electoral Commission told East African Business week at his office,  which was  an interaction process for the commission to update the public on the conclusion of nominations of candidates for parliamentary Elections and the commencement of the campaign period, as well as other activities related to the Roadmap for the 2015 – 2016 General elections.

He revealed that all the nominated Presidential candidates have already been issued with a soft copy of the Register.

He emphasized that the National Voters’ register shall be the basis for participating in the 2016 general elections, either as a candidate or as a voter. Accordingly, only registered voters  will be allowed  to vote  at the polling station where they are registered, and this shall include  persons whose particulars  and photographs appear on the National Voters Register, whether they have a National Identity card or not, as per section 34 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005.

He cautioned that those who have been issued with National Identity Cards should carry them for purposes of easing identification on polling day.  

He revealed that campaigns for parliamentary elections that kicked off on December 7 will conclude on February 16, 2016 and the polling will take place on Thursday February 18, 2016. However, the period December 15 – 23, 2015 has been blocked to allow parliament to attend to critical national issues.

Kiggundu urges candidates, their agents and the public to adhere to set rules and regulations guiding the campaign period.    Candidates and their supporters are cautioned to refrain from activities that endanger the electoral environment; this includes cutting of trees and tree branches as well as littering.

The electoral commission compiled a National voters’ register for purposes of the 2015 - 2016 General Elections, and for this purpose, extracted the data containing the particulars of registered and verified Ugandan citizens from the National Identification Register.

The extracted data was displayed for public scrutiny at the respective update centres in each parish /ward during the update period from April 7 to May 1, 2015. The exercise had been scheduled to end on 30th April 2015 but was extended twice, from 30th April to May 4th, and again to May 11, 2015.

However the commission announced that effective march 31, 2015, the 2011 National voters register had been retired and gazetted and accordingly, it would not be used for purposes of elections and referenda 2016 and beyond.

During the period the commission conducted an update of the National voters’ register which involved fresh registration of Ugandan citizens of 18 years and above, who had missed out on the registration conducted for purpose of a National Identity Card.  ‘The commission therefore calls on all stakeholders in the ongoing electoral process to refrain from making statements that are likely to misguide the general public,’ Kiggundu concluded.

By Dan Nsalasaata, Saturday, December 12th, 2015


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