The Election Commission (EC) has launched a sensitization exercise aimed at appealing to voters to confirm their names and polling stations in order to have smooth general elections in 2021.
It is EC’s mandate to reorganize polling stations and placing voters in the right polling stations in an electoral area.
The exercise which will start from 2nd September 2019 through 14th September 2019 will ensure that all eligible voters with national identity cards are ready to vote come 2021 general elections and other elections in the country.
During the launch of the polling stations re-organisation exercise at EC headquarters in Kampala today, the EC Chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama said that although Ugandans and non-Ugandans have registered with National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and acquired the national identity card, it’s also important to register with National Voters Register if they are to participate in elections.
He added that the sensitization exercise will go a long way in ironing out issues of where to vote from and confirmation of voters’ details.
“The re-organization exercise is to appeal to eligible voters to confirm that they are on the National Voters Register. After acquiring a national identity card from NIRA, you should also register with the Voter Register to be able to vote because national identity card confirm citizenship which is mandatory, but the Voters Register qualifies you to vote and it voluntary,” Byabakama said.
However, quoting from the Presidential Elections Act which provides for consultation of voters, Byabakama cautioned presidential aspirants, who are consulting citizens across the country to do so after introducing themselves to EC and Local Councils where they are consulting to avoid being subjected to the laws of the land.
“Aspirants intending to be presidential candidates may consult voters nationwide to raise funds, convene meetings of national delegates, but before consulting, they must introduce themselves to EC and Local Councils they intend to carry out the consultation. The people going around consulting are subjecting themselves to other laws. No aspirant has so far come to EC for that purpose,” he said.
The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), a Civil Society Organisation on Monday cautioned the public to be vigilant after the commencement of regional workshops for stakeholders on demarcation of electoral areas and re-organisation of polling stations in preparation of 2020/ 2021 elections around the 12 regions.
Speaking to the media, the Coordinator – CCEDU, Crispin Kaheru revealed that the Coalition has noted with satisfaction Electoral Commission’s initial efforts to engage stakeholders to actively and meaningfully participate in the implementation of the revised 2020/2021 General Elections Roadmap and welcomed announcement to undertake the demarcation of electoral areas and re-organization of polling stations exercise from September 2 – 14, 2019.
“CCEDU calls upon all Ugandans to be vigilant and cooperate with the election authorities in the field, in order to ensure that the exercise is conducted transparently to the satisfaction of the respective communities. We will pay close attention to the exercise as well as share any emerging issues with relevant authorities – for action,” he said.
According to section 12 (1)(d) and section 33 of the Electoral Commission Act as well as section 30 (1) of the Presidential Election Act 2005, the Electoral Commission is mandated to establish and operate polling stations within each Parish or Ward of every Electoral District.
By Drake Nyamugabwa