STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRPERSON/ELECTORAL COMMISSION AT THE PRE-POLLING BRIEFING FOR THE BY-ELECTION OF THE DISTRICT CHAIRPERSON, HOIMA DISTRICT, WEDNESDAY, 13TH SEPTEMBER 2023
As you are aware, the vacancy for District Chairperson, Hoima District, occurred as a result of the death of the former Chairperson, Hon. Kirungi Kadiri on 17th March 2023.
Section 171(1) of The Local Government Act Cap 243 requires the Electoral Commission to organize a by-election for the District Chairperson within six (6) months from the occurrence of the vacancy. Therefore, the statutory deadline for holding the by-election is Saturday 16th September 2023.
Accordingly, the Electoral Commission has undertaken various activities under the program for the conduct of the by-election, which include the following:
1) The update of the National Voters’ Register was conducted from Monday 24th July, to Friday 28th July 2023; at update stations in each of the Fifty-Five (55) parishes in Hoima District.
2) The display of the National Voters’ Register was conducted for a period of ten (10) days, that is, from Wednesday 9th to Friday 18th August 2023, at all the one hundred and seventy-three (173) polling stations in Hoima District.
3) The nomination exercise was conducted on Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st of August 2023 at the Office of the District Returning Officer, Hoima, and the following candidates were dully nominated to contest for the by-elections: Musinguzi Patrick (FDC); Mugisha Uthman Mubaraka (NRM); Muhumuza Vincent Savana (Independent); Aguuda Moses (NUP), and Mugume Lennox (Independent).
Tumusime Arafat Bun Ali (NRM) was declared elected unopposed for the position of Directly-elected Councillor for Katereiga Parish Buhanika Sub County, while Irumba Silvest (NRM) was also declared elected unopposed for the position of Councillor for Older Persons Kabaale Sub County
Conclusion of Campaigns and Polling Date
The campaign meetings for the District Chairperson by-elections commenced on Friday 1st September 2023 and were successfully concluded Tuesday 12th September 2023.
The Commission wishes to commend the candidates and their supporters for a generally peaceful campaign period.
The Commission further commends the Uganda Police Force for ensuring compliance with the campaign guidelines.
Polling will take place tomorrow, Thursday, 14th September 2023.
Voting shall be by universal adult suffrage and shall take place at all the one hundred and Seventy-three (173) polling stations in Hoima District, beginning at 7:00 am and ending at 4:00 pm.
Thereafter, the counting of votes and announcing of results by the respective Presiding Officer shall take place.
Political parties and the candidates are encouraged to appoint in writing and deploy their agents at each polling station.
Please note that other than observing the exercise, candidates’ agents shall not be expected to interfere with the polling process.
We strongly urge voters to turn up early at their respective polling stations so that polling processes commence on time, that is, by 7:00 a.m.
Final Polling Register
Commission has completed preparing the National Voters’ Register for Hoima District, which bears the names of all the Ninety-Four Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty-Four (94,824) registered voters with the females comprising 48,532 (51.18%) and the males 46,292 (48.82%).
The Commission has issued a copy of the Voters’ Register to participating candidates to enable them (candidates), through their official agents, to ensure that only eligible persons are allowed to vote during the by-election and only at the polling station where they are registered as voters.
Dispatch of Polling Materials
The Commission dispatched the polling kit to the Office of the Returning Officer, Hoima District on Tuesday, 12th September 2023.
There will be the internal distribution of materials to all the One Hundred and Seventy-three (173) polling stations in Hoima District, tomorrow 14th September 2023 to ensure that polling commences on time.
Designated candidates’ agents are advised to report to the Tally Centre at Dwoli Primary School before 6:00 a.m. on the morning of Thursday 14th September 2023, to observe the dispatch of the polling kits to their respective polling stations.
Election Observers and Candidates’ Agents
The Electoral Commission wishes to draw the attention of the political parties participating in this by-election to S.16 (1a) of the Electoral Commission Act, which provides for the accreditation of representatives of political parties, independent candidates, civil society organizations, and any other duly registered institution, to observe electoral activities.
Accordingly, participating political parties have been permitted to deploy not more than five (5) observers per Sub County. These accredited observers will be required to limit their activity to the designated areas (Sub County), and the Police have been notified to enforce this regulation.
The participating political parties should have also submitted names of two (2) observers, who have been accredited for purposes of accessing the Tally Center and observing the tallying process.
The Commission has provided all those accredited with written clearance, relevant information, and identification for the purpose of observing the by-election.
Please note that media personnel will be required to present valid identification in order to access polling stations and the Tally Center.
Any individual found to be doing the duties of an observer or agent without due accreditation will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
Establishment of Query/Complaints Desk and Media Center
The Electoral Commission has established a Query/Complaints Desk at Dwoli Primary School, Playground, Kitoba Sub-County for the purpose of receiving and handling any complaints that may arise during the by-elections.
The Query/Complaints Desk will operate on polling day, from 7 am to 4 pm.
The Commission encourages each political party/independent candidate to appoint an official agent to sit with the (Commission) officials at this desk, to ease the handling of any query and/or complaint that may arise.
The Commission has provided the following telephone numbers to enable the electorate to raise any issue of concern for prompt handling: 0800 300121/0800 300122/0800 300125 (toll free number) and 0392 004530 (not-toll-free – chargeable number).
The Commission has further established a media center at the same venue, namely, Dwoli Primary School, Playground, Kitoba Sub-County, for purposes of coordinating information and providing updates on issues and the progress of the electoral process.
The media center will be managed by officials from the Public Relations Department of the Electoral Commission and a designated Officer of the Uganda Police Force. They will give periodic briefings on the progress of the electoral process and address any emerging issues.
Appointment of Returning Officer and Gazzeting of Results Tally Center
The Electoral Commission has appointed Ms. Kasande Merab as the Returning Officer for the by-election of the District Chairperson Hoima, and the Sub-County Directly-elected Councillors, Hoima District.
The Electoral Commission has further gazetted the Dwoli Primary School, Playground, Kitoba Sub-County as the election results Tally Center for this by-election.
Please note that access to the Tally Center will be restricted to only authorized persons who shall have the respective accreditation tags/cards.
The Commission appeals to candidates, their agents, and supporters to conduct themselves in accordance with the Law, and the guidelines issued by the Electoral Commission for the by-elections. We should all work together to achieve a credible exercise.
I call upon the voters to come out early and freely cast their votes. I wish to assure you that the Commission, working with the Uganda Police Force, has made adequate preparations to ensure a peaceful and secure electoral environment.
I wish to warn the electorate that any unlawful conduct will be decisively dealt with.
The Electoral Commission calls upon all stakeholders in this electoral process to participate in the above activities following the guidelines that were issued for these by-elections.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon
Chairperson, Electoral Commission