EC Boss Byabakama: Voting Materials Can be Printed from Uganda

Uganda should consider the option of printing electoral materials in the country to support local manufacturers and avoid the massive foreign exchange outflows, Electoral Commission boss Simon Byabakama has revealed.

“All we need are security measures to satisfy all stakeholders that we are not helping someone, viagra ” said Byabakama.

He made the remarks on Friday during a media managers breakfast at Kampala Serena Hotel.

The head of the new EC was responding to a question from the audience on why it continues to spend millions of dollars on procuring electoral materials from foreign countries.

EC Secretary Sam Rwakoojo said the commission spent a staggering $10m (Shs 35bn) on printing materials abroad.

“The Commission doesn’t have enough funds,” said Byabakama, adding, “We should save money and support our local industries.”

He said the printing process is not “magical”, insisting, “The problem is perception.”

Previous Commissions have been accused of rigging elections in favour of the incumbent.


Rwakoojo also described as “painful” the idea of “giving away ten million dollars to people abroad” to print what can be done from here.

He said materials for by-elections and national examinations are printed from Uganda, wondering why presidential election papers are printed from foreign countries.

He said the multiplier effect of spending $10m in the country would boost the economy.


Meanwhile, Byabakama promised a robust communication system to keep the public appraised about its activities amid negative perception towards the electoral body.

“I have not seen any incontrovertible evidence that the previous electoral commission did not act independently,” said the new EC boss.

“Independence is about perceptions. Let situations arise where we are expected to act independently and people will judge,” he added.

Byabakama served as a lawyer and trial judge before being appointed to the sensitive job.

The opposition has since called for a participatory role in the selection of the EC Commission.

But Byabakama said the EC was “mindful that we are mandated to act independently. We are mindful that EC is handling a delicate situation and that we must show that we are acting impartially.”

“If there were misgivings with the previous commission, let’s be the judges of the present not what happened in the past.”

Money in politics

In regard to the commercialization of politics, Byabakama urged stakeholders to condemn “this sickness”.

He observed: “It’s our duty to sensitize the voters that seeking a vote should not come with a price tag because the person paying the price will probably have to recoup what he invested” which he said has a negative impact on service delivery.

“The voter has to realize his vote has no monetary value,” he noted.

He promised a “continuous” and “uninterrupted” voter education across the country to sensitize the masses on “what their right to vote entails.”

He said media must play a key role on “turning around the attitudes of our people – that it’s not about sugar and perks. We must emphasise the sanctity of the right to vote and the sanctity of electoral process – that it’s much more than these perks.”

He expressed shock that commercialisation of politics continues to scare away “good-intentioned people.”

“This kind of sickness must stop. We need to rise and say this can’t happen.”

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