EALA Candidates Question Ballot Paper Arrangement

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In short
A section of candidates contesting for the East African Legislative Assembly EALA seats are complaining about the arrangement of their names on the ballot papers to be used for todays election. The candidates, mostly Independent, say the arrangement of the names is intended to benefit their counterparts attached to political parties.

A section of candidates contesting for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) seats are complaining about the arrangement of their names on the ballot papers to be used for today's election.
                                  
The candidates, mostly Independent, say the arrangement of the names is intended to benefit their counterparts attached to political parties.  
 
The Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige together with the parliament director legal and legislative services, Pius Biribonwoha, on Monday issued guidelines for the election of EALA members.
 
While addressing candidates, Kibirige presented a list of 47 contestants that was cleared by the verification committee noting that this would be the list used by MPs for voting.
 
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Democratic Party (DP) candidate Mukasa Fred Mbidde appears number one on the list followed by Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party candidates Ekwau Florence Ibi and Kamateneti Ingrid Turinawe.
 
These are followed by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidates Akol Rose Okullu, Musmali Paul Mwasa, Mugyenyi Mary, Kasamba Mathias, Namara Dennis and Odongo George Stephen.
 
Uganda People's Congress (UPC) party candidate Opoka-Okumu Christopher appears number ten on the list followed by Independent candidates.  
 
This arrangement of names is, however, contested by the Independent candidates who argue that it falls short of free and fair elections. They want the names on the ballot paper to be arranged in alphabetical order saying that this will create a fair play ground.
 
Dr. Gerald Wanzaala Werikhe, one of the candidates, said that people intend to ignore others after looking at the first names.
 
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However, Clerk Jane Kibirige said that her office thought that the way candidates are listed is convenient and takes care of all shades of opinion.
 
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Meanwhile other candidates like Kasamba Mathias and Independent candidate Mariam Nalubega raised concern about voter education for the Members of Parliament before polling day so that they are well conversant with the procedures.
 
Kibirige said that the voter education will be carried out by the Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday morning before voting.
 
Some of the Key Guidelines for the EALA Election

. On Tuesday 28th February 2017 beginning 10:00am, House will sit for candidates to address Members of Parliament
 
. Each candidate will be given seven minutes to address the House.
 
. Once all candidates have addressed the House, the voting process will begin.
 
. Voting to take place in a tent at the Southern Car Parking Yard
 
. Each Member of Parliament will be expected to tick their favourite nine candidates on the ballot paper. Short of this, the ballot paper will be declared invalid.  
 
. The candidates are not allowed to hold campaigns at the voting premises or access it during the casting of votes
 
. The clerk to parliament shall be the returning officer.
 
. For purposes of tallying the results, the Clerk shall allocate staff to tally the votes cast.
 
. The parliamentary staff will record the results obtained by the candidate they are responsible for.
 
. The clerk shall rank the candidates in a descending order with the candidate having the highest number of votes being on top and the candidate with the lowest number of votes at the bottom.
 
. The clerk shall submit the list of the ranked candidates to the Speaker who shall announce the results to the House.
 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.