Free And Fair Election Not Defined By Any Law – Justice Simon Byabakama
Uganda Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama, while speaking on NBS TV Morning Breeze show about the forthcoming 2021 general elections, said that a normal election is that which informs to article 1(4) of the constitution. He stated that the term, free and fair election is not defined by the constitution or by any law.
He mentioned that on management when people have been nominated, the first activity they undertake is to agree on their respective campaign programs and said that the same method is going to apply this time around.
Byabakama said that they are going to bring on board regulatory bodies to make sure all contenders receive equal opportunities on TV and radio. He added that there are about 50 presidential aspirants.
“From the context of the law and our mandate, article 61(2) is static. It does not give the EC room to consider the possibility of non-compliance. If you look at the constitution regarding when an election can be postponed, that is not within the Commission’s prescience. It belongs to another entity called Parliament,” said Byabakama.
The EC Chairman said that they are to continue on their mandate journey until another entity mandated by the law tells them to stop, adding that all other organs of the state that have a clear mandate to stop the election can do so.
“We shall not have virtual voting. Polling stations will be manned to avoid overcrowding. People will have to follow the given SOPs. In the current context of the 2021 elections, the commission is still wondering about the practical ramifications of prisoners and people in the diaspora voting,” said Byabakama.
Byabakama said that the diaspora is scattered in many countries and they have to establish where they are first.