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Why Parliament maintained sh3m for nomination

By John Odyek

Added 5th March 2020 02:34 PM

The nomination for Members of Parliament will be in October, while the voting will take place in January 2021.

Why Parliament maintained sh3m for nomination

PARLIAMENT.jpg

The nomination for Members of Parliament will be in October, while the voting will take place in January 2021.

POLITICS        ELECTIONS          PARLIAMENT

Parliament has rejected the proposal to reduce nomination fees for aspiring candidates for the position of MP.

This follows the House's approval of the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which sets the nomination fees for aspiring candidates at sh3m amid shouts for reduction of the fees.

Isala Veronica Eragu, the acting chairperson of the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs presented the amendments for the committee that maintained the fees at sh3m.

A controversial amendment moved by Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West) calling for the revision of the fee to sh200,000 was rejected by the Government represented by Attorney General William Byaruhanga and Constitutional affairs minister Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu.

Mafabi argued that the sh3m was too high for some candidates. While Byaruhanga said lowering the figure to sh200,000 might cause a major influx of candidates. "You want to have people who seriously want to contest. The sh200,000 is too low to justify that people are not there," Byaruhanga said.

Parliament also refused to approve an amendment calling for posting of results of elections on ‘WhatsApp like' social media platforms administered by returning officers. MPs said some districts lack power and Internet access.

Eragu (Kaberamaido County) moved an amendment defining how a person is eligible to stand for election as an independent candidate.

The amendment which was passed states that a person can stand as an independent candidate if he or she is not a member of a registered political party or organisation, has ceased to be a member of a political party or organisation before nomination day, has had his or her membership of that party terminated before the nomination day or has never been registered as a member of a political party or organisation.

The nomination for about 457 MPs will take place in October while the voting will take place in January 2021. Eragu explained that they want candidates to use 90 days for campaigning while the Presidential candidates who cover wider areas will use 120 days for campaigns. The current term of office for all elected leaders expires on 12th May 2021.

The object of the bill was to amend the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005 to provide for the participation of independent candidates in elections, to provide for restrictions on candidates' sources of funding to finance elections, to require the Electoral Commission to designate restricted areas experiencing epidemics, disasters or insecurity, operation areas for security personnel during elections and to provide for a special procedure for voting in restricted areas.

The bill requires a  candidate to declare to the commission,  within  14  days after nomination day,  the source of funds for financing his or her election. The bill bars public officers or the use of public resources for campaigns and if convicted can get a fine not exceeding sh10m or a jail term not exceeding five years or both.

The bill restricts a candidate or candidates' agent from getting money or other assistance from any foreign Government, a terrorist organisation, institution, body or person which or who has demonstrated an intention to overthrow the lawfully established government of Uganda or to endanger the security of Uganda.

Eragu moves another amendment stating that where a new district or constituency is created after the general elections, the elections for the district or constituency shall not be held until the next general elections, to fill the vacant elective positions.

Kyewalabye Majegere (Bunya East) proposed that while results of the elections were being released, they should be posted on social media platforms, created by the returning officers. Majegere explained that the members of the group would be the candidates and their agents.

However Aidah Nantaba (District Woman MP Kayunga) did not support the amendment saying such groups could get fake results posted by opponents. "It is dangerous to post-election results in WhatsApp groups. What about those that will send false declaration forms, by the time you realize what will you do?," Nantaba said.

The Minister for ICT and National Guidance Hon. Peter Ogwang said the government needs another loan to connect many districts that lack Internet access to the quality that can post data.  Ogwang, ICT minister said districts like Karamoja are just getting connected to the Internet.

The polling for Presidential, General Parliamentary and Local Government Councils for2021 General Elections shall be between 10th January and 8th February 2021.

AccordingtoArticle61(2),The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the EC is mandated to hold Presidential, General Parliamentary and Local Government Councils Elections within the first 30days of the last 122days of the expiry of the term of Office of the President.

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