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By Mulengera Reporter

Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, has insisted she will not allow the Electoral Commission (EC) to exclude over one million Ugandans from participating in the 2021 general elections.

On Tuesday, the EC leadership, headed by Chairperson Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, told MPs on the Legal and Parliamentary Committee that the commission stopped registering fresh voters in December 2019.  (See: FATE OF ONE MILLION YOUNG VOTERS & THREE KEY CHANGES ANNOUNCED BY EC BOSS BYABAKAMA).

Byabakama and his team argued that continuing with the process after the cutoff time would have created uncertainty for the electoral process, raised more questions on the cleanness of the Voters’ Register and cost the commission more cash.

But Kadaga insists “no amount of financial implication(s) should be used as an excuse to disenfranchise one million Ugandans; denying them the right to vote.”

The no-nonsense speaker has since ordered Attorney General (AG) William Byaruhanga “to come [to Parliament] with a report that clearly sorts out the illegality of denying new 18-year-olds [an opportunity of] voting in the 2021 General Elections.”

Kadaga has given AG Byaruhanga one week, until Tuesday, March 03, 2020 to present the report before Parliament’s plenary.

Last week, the EC started the process of display of the Updated Voters’ Register and Registers for Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The former exercise commenced on February 19 and will end on March 10, while the latter started on the same date as the former but will be concluded on February 28, 2020.

At the start of the display exercise, Byabakama reiterated that “fresh application for registration as a voter or application for transfer to another voting location shall not be accepted during this Display exercise.”

About 17.9 million Ugandans have registered to vote in next year’s elections which will be conducted at 34,344 polling stations the country over, according to figures recently released by the EC.

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