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Presidential Consultations: MPs Grill Justice Minister Over Absence of Regulations

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The EC Chairperson, Justice Byabakama said Section 3 of the Presidential Elections Act give freedom to every Ugandan who wishes to contest for the President’s office to consult, introduce himself or herself to the Electoral Commission and notify the relevant local council and police where they intend to hold consultations.
The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Chairperson Jacob Oboth-Oboth is expected to present the committee report on Monday before parliament.

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The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has grilled the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Ephraim Kamuntu over the absence of regulations for consultations by presidential aspirants.

Kamuntu had appeared before the Committee in the company of the Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi and Electoral Commission officials led by their Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama over the 2021 election road map.

During the meeting, the Bugiri Municipality, MP Asuman Basalirwa wondered why the road map issued by the EC doesn’t capture the aspect of consultations by presidential aspirants.  

He said there is a lot of mystery surrounding consultations by presidential aspirant, adding that police continues to issue contradicting guidelines that have made consultations impossible. 

 

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The Busiro East MP, Medard Lubega Sseggona weighed in on the discussion, saying Police chose to operate in a political matter by blocking the consultations by the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. 

He questioned the EC Chairperson, Justice Byabakama why their earlier meeting with Kyagulanyi and Police had failed to ensure a smooth consultation process.

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The Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi for more time to allow the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry to consult on regulations governing the consultations.  

The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Chairperson, Jacob Oboth said regulations are important and should be able to resolve the current impasse. 

He noted that the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry is mandated to come up with the regulations, according to Section 88 of the Presidential Elections Act.

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The EC Chairperson, Justice Byabakama said Section 3 of the Presidential Elections Act give freedom to every Ugandan who wishes to contest for the President’s office to consult, introduce himself or herself to the Electoral Commission and notify the relevant local council and police where they intend to hold consultations.  

He however, said the law doesn’t specify what consultations entail, which leaves room for varied interpretations. He said currently EC is trying to give guidance in light of the absence of the modalities of what consultations mean.

 

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Jacob Oboth blamed the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry for being lazy and not coming up with regulations to govern consultations.

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He directed the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Kamuntu to draft regulations that will govern consultations. 

Kamuntu committed himself to come up with the regulations in the next two months.

 

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For the past few months, Police has blocked several consultative meetings by the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu despite getting clearance from the Communication to do so. 

Police has repeatedly accused the legislator of failing to comply with provisions of the Public Order Management Act.

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