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Mbabazi Lawyer, EC Disagree on Consultative Meeting Guidelines

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Electoral Commission wants presidential aspirants to hold interactive meetings with voters as opposed to aspirants addressing a multitude of voters.
Fred Muwema - Mbabazi\'s Lawyer.jpg

Audio 4

The lawyer of ex-Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has rejected the guidelines issued by the Electoral Commission-EC on consultative meetings and campaigns of presidential aspirants prior to their nomination.

Electoral Commission wants presidential aspirants to hold interactive meetings with voters as opposed to aspirants addressing a multitude of voters. However, Mbabazi\'s lawyer Fred Muwema will not have any of this saying the EC guidelines are illegal.

Muwema expressed his concerns during a meeting convened by Electoral Commission with the presidential aspirants on the nature of their consultative meetings.

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Muwema said Mbabazi will continue with his countrywide consultations as planned because it is his constitutional right to consult the public ahead of the 2016 elections. 

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He said the elections guidelines as derived from the Presidential Elections Act 2005 does not define what a consultation is, how many people constitute a consultation meeting and the nature of venue to be used for a meeting. 

He told Engineer Badru Kiggundu, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission that Mbabazi supports a peaceful electoral process and called upon government and all statutory bodies to respect the rights of his client. He threatened to drag the Electoral Commission to court for issuing illegal guidelines. 

However, in his response Engineer Badru Kiggundu, the Electoral Commission Chairperson said the Commission will not ignore abuse of the guidelines.

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He said the purpose of the guidelines is not to intimidate or limit anyone\'s presidential aspirations but to ensure that the electoral processes are fair to all and peaceful.

Kiggundu insisted that all aspirants must first be nominated as presidential candidates before they are allowed to proceed with their campaigns. 

Frederick Ruhindi, the Attorney General says that under Section 21 and 24 of the Presidential Elections Act, the presidential aspirants are only allowed to hold large rallies after they have been successfully nominated.

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Ruhindi says that the issuing of guidelines by the Electoral Commission does not mean that the Commission is enacting new laws, but it is simplifying the existing laws so that the public can understand them better. 

Last week, Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse campaign rallies organised by Mbabazi in Jinja and Soroti saying they were illegal.