The UMA General elections that were earlier scheduled to happen next week on Tuesday 28, have been stopped and postponed.
Unlike the past two instances where the UMA Electoral committee Chairman was postponing this election, this time round, the Elections have been stopped by Honorable Amongi Betty Ongom the Minister Of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the Ministry that takes the Art, Culture and Creative Industry.
This abrupt and rather fast turn of events in relation to this election comes just days after the Same ministry together with UNCC – Uganda National Cultural Centre and NCF- National Culture Forum okayed the same election during a joint meeting on Wednesday 22 June at the Ministry Headquarters. The big question which arises now is, Why is the Same Ministry halting the same Elections they okayed just 2 days back?
According to the letter from Hon. Betty Amongi addressed to Mr Geoffrey Ekongot, the UMA Electoral Committee chairman, the minister noted that following their earlier meeting, she obtained the dully registered UMA Constitution from URSB and this Constitution guided her decision today which resulted into stopping these elections.
The Real Truth of the Matter!
According to the Minister with reference to the UMA Constitution, the UMA policy board is non existent and its role in overseeing the activities of UMA was not in order. The UMA Constitution Article IX Section 1(F) rather provides that the Chairperson of the Executive Board shall appoint an election committee of three members, none of whom are candidates, to conduct elections.
With this development, the earlier Wednesday meeting between the Ministry, UMA, UNCC and the “Policy Board” which made the decision to okay and centralize the election to one venue had no mandate since the “Policy Board” is not recognized in the 2019 Constitution.
In addition, petitions from all the four regions raising a number of issues ranging from unfairness in having only one national polling center in Kampala, complaining of distance due to lack of funds aswell as lack of inclusivity of all members in the votting process have been raised.
Whats the way forward?
It’s now very clear that the earlier scheduled Tuesday 28th June UMA election has been postponed till further consultations with various stakeholders, according to Honorable Betty Amongi!
With this directive, stakeholders should build consensus on procedure of organizing elections as enshrined in the 2019 constitution.
With all the prevailing matters on ground in relation to this third postponement of this highly anticipated election, the big question is, where does this leave all the candidates in this election?
Secondly since the policy board that has been overseeing UMA within this period has been exposed as illegally existing, who will now take over ?
Since the arts sector now has structures that over see the entire industry, we hope the matters of UMA will fully be settled and solved for the betterment of this biggest musicians body in the land!