The Electoral Commission has vehemently warned presidential candidates against setting up their own tally centres and declaring their own results as the January 14 general elections close in.
The EC chairman Justice Simon Byabakama, while dispatching polling materials for presidential and parliamentary elections to the districts on Wednesday, described the plans by some presidential candidates to set up their own tally centres and declaring their own results as “playing a dangerous game.”
“If you are going to misuse that tally centre or use it for purposes of misleading the people of Uganda, and you declare your own results when the law says it is only the Electoral Commission that is mandated to do so, then you are playing a dangerous game. Law enforcement will have to come in and deal with you,” said Byabakama.
National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine and his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) counterpart Patrick Amuriat Oboi have announced that they will set up their own tally centres.
The two presidential candidates, however, did not announce where those centres will be set up.
Byabakama said that under the law, there is only one tally centre which is the national tally centre.
“Under the law, there is only one recognised tally centre. That is the national tally center for presidential elections, and then the district tally centres for parliamentary and other category of elections in the district. I do not understand the rationale of the proposed tally centre and what its position is in the law. It’s not there,” he said.
Byabakama noted that the law commands the Electoral Commission to give every candidate a copy of the Declaration of Results (DR) forms from each polling station so that every candidate knows how they scored at the polling station.
He encouraged political parties and candidates to get DR forms from each polling station and wait for the national results to be declared by the Electoral Commission.
After the Commission has declared official results, Byabakama said, the candidates can compare with what they have on their DR forms to see whether what is declared by the Commission corresponds with what is on the DR forms.
It should be noted that in 2016, the then Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Rtd Col Dr Kizza Besigye who up to today maintains that he won the election with 52%, declared his own results and swore himself in as the President of the Republic of Uganda.
He was later arrested and charged with treason.
Uganda will go to the polls on January 14, this year to elect the next president.