BY Pascal Kwesiga
The Electoral Commission (EC) has issued a program for a by election to fill the Butaleja woman parliamentary seat that fell vacant following the demise of Cerinah Nebanda on December 14.
According to the program that was released by the EC chairman Eng. Badru Kiggundu Thursday, nominations of candidates will take place on January 21 and 22 at a designated venue in the district. The voters will then be given seven days to challenge the candidature of the nominated candidates.
Flanked by his deputy, Sam Rwakoojo, the deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) Okoth Ochola, Director of police operations, Grace Turyagumanawe and EC commissioners and directors, Kiggundu explained that candidates shall be allowed to campaign for 18 days starting from January 24 to February 9.
"All candidates are urged to observe law and order during this exercise and to conduct their campaign meetings in accordance with the harmonized program. Hate language will not be tolerated at all," he added.
Kiggundu who extended condolences to the family and the people of Butaleja upon the death of Nebanda on behalf of the electoral body also explained that the EC had banned all fund raising activities in the district to allow a leveled ground for all candidates in the race.
He said that the EC would have a stakeholders meeting with district leaders, security leaders and opinion leaders today (Friday) to update them about the by election program.
According to the EC, there were 87, 641 registered voters and 151 polling stations in Butaleja in 2011 elections. Kiggundu said an update of the voters' register for Butaleja district will be conducted from January 5- 9 at update stations within each parish on the appointed dates.
"This will enable Ugandan citizens of 18 years and above, who either reside or originate in parishes within the above district, and who have not had their photographs and bio data taken before by the EC for purposes of registration for elections to do so," he added.
Kiggundu also explained that all voters who wish to transfer to new voting locations shall be allowed to do so during the exercise that will stop on January 9.
The EC officials also said that the voters' register will be displayed at various polling stations in the district between January 21 and 30.
Kiggundu explained that the names of people recommended for deletion for various reasons shall be displayed between January 31 and February 5 to enable the affected persons to raise objections in preparation for the election that will take place on February 11.
Okoth said the police presence will be heightened during the campaign period and election exercise to protect law and order and ensure that police areas and elections materials are properly secured.