Uganda Independent Electoral commission get new home as they prepare for by-elections
KAMPALA - Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, Chairman of the Electoral Commission in Uganda says they are ready to organise by-elections because they are mandated to do so. This follows the sudden death of Bishop Patrick Okabe, the Serere County Member of Parliament in a nasty car accident which claimed his wife and Agule County in Pallisa District where incumbent MP, Mr Polycap Ogwari, was thrown out of Parliament over lack of academic qualifications.
Whenever a Member of Parliament dies or where the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant under article 83 of the constitution, or where a seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant under section 4 of Parliamentary Elections Act 2005, the Clerk to Parliament shall notify the Commission in writing within ten days after the vacancy has occurred, and a by-election shall, subject to section 95, be held within sixty days after the vacancy has occurred. A by-election shall not be held under this section within six months before the holding of the general election of members of Parliament. With still over two years to end the current tenure of Members of Parliament, the Electoral Commission is set to conduct two by-elections as the law stipulates.
Bishop Patrick Okabe, the Serere County Member of Parliament died in a motor accident, while voters in Agule County in Pallisa District are gearing up for a by-election after the Court of Appeal sitting in Mbale District threw out the incumbent MP, Mr Polycap Ogwari, over lack of academic qualifications. Mr Ogwari [Indenpendent] had won in the 2021 General Election with 7,190 votes against his main rival, Mr David Ochwa (NRM), who polled 6,908 votes. However, Mr Ochwa decided to petition the High Court seeking nullification of the election, citing alleged bribery, lack of academic qualification and intimidation of voters.
Meanwhile, the Electoral commission informs the general public that the Commission Head Office on Plot 55 Jinja Road, Kampala will be closed to the general public with effect from Friday 16th December 2022 to undertake the process of relocating to the new address, Plot 1-3/5, Seventh Street, industrial Area, Kampala (formerly Head Office of the National Housing and Construction Company Ltd). The new premises will be opened to the general public on Monday 16th January 2023.
They have relocated to pave way for the construction of the Kampala Fly over Project. Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) which oversees the project had several times complained that the project delayed because EC had failed to shift, which was costing government shs 300m daily. In 2019, UNRA paid EC shs 22 billion as compensation and facilitating the quick process of vacating the Jinja Road premises.