The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) of Uganda, Justice Simon Byabakama has scoffed at the propagators of the “People’s Government” saying it is a hoax.
Byabakama, while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, termed the parallel opposition led government as “political gimmickry”
The “People’s Government,” complete with a cabinet and regional leadership, is headed by FDC’s Col Dr Kizza Besigye and was formed in the wake of the 2016 presidential election which Dr Besigye claims he won.
The EC boss, Justice Byabakama while appearing before the committee, was invited by Bugiri Municipality MP Hon. Asuman Basalirwa to explain how the commission felt about the existence of the parallel government.
The EC, Basalirwa suggested, was to blame for the rejection by some presidential candidates of the election results.
Ajuri county MP Hon Hamson Obua also inquired if at all there were any penalties for people who form parallel governments following elections.
In response however, Byabakama brushed off the issue saying law was very clear.
He went on to term the leadership of the People’s Government as “people who have stuck to trading in political gimmickry.”
“Let us look at the law, what is the legitimacy of this parallel government? Does it have any legitimacy or not? I think that solves the issue, I just don’t want to comment much,” he said.
Meanwhile during the meeting, the committee heard from the ministerial policy statement, that the EC is in need for Shs. 456.6 billion to run effectively.
According to the policy statement, as of now those anticipating running in the newly created districts of; Nabilatuk, Kapelebyong, Bugweri, Kwania, Kasanda and Kikuube may have to wait longer.
This has been further compounded by the addition of seven other districts yet 4.2 billion that was recommended for this job has not been released yet.
Also, Shs 363 million is owed to several data entrants for their services nine years ago, while 4 billion is needed to clear legal services and court awards against the commission. Government has only committed 1billion for this purpose.
Pertaining gratuity, although 32 staff retired in the financial years 2017/2018 and 2018/2019, out of 6 billion only 1 billion shillings has been released meaning they might have to wait a little longer for their gratuity.
The commission also has to act fast and find 72 billion shillings before their current headquarters are razed for the construction of mega infrastructural projects. These projects include; Kampala fly over, Jinja express high way and standard gauge rail way.
Owing to this, Byabakama called for legislators’ intervention in this matter saying there was no justification whatsoever for not holding elections.
‘‘You have played a big part and I think you can still be useful. It is not a matter of people coming to petition; it is a matter of the constitution. Article 78 provides that each district shall be represented by a woman, so if you don’t do that you are in breach of the constitution’’, he begs.
Regarding electoral reforms, Byabakama said EC had done what is required of it by fronting proposals to relevant bodies; and that the ball now lies in parliament’s court.
‘‘EC made its contribution in that area. Last time when we were here we presented a copy of our recommendations, submitted them to the relevant authorities we are told the matter rests with this honorable house’’, he explains.
If possible, Byabakama says these reforms need to be fast tracked to enable EC adequate time to plan for this.