Legislators have asked the Electoral Commission to re-open registration of voters in order to accommodate persons turning 18 before the general election next year.
MPs argue that the early closing of voter registration will deny over one million people turning 18 the chance to vote in the forthcoming election adding that it is necessary to reopen the registration as the Constitution of Uganda guarantees all citizens who have turned 18 years before election date the right to register and vote.
However, According to the Electoral Commission roadmap, the update of the voters’ register ended on 17 December 2019.
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon. Kamuntu noted that the enormous and complex operational requirements of conducting the elections make it difficult for the EC to re-open the registration exercise.
“The EC is not able to re-open the updates of the voters register as requested by some MPs. EC has only adjusted timelines of the nomination of Presidential and Parliamentary candidates,” he said.
He explained that according to the roadmap, already published by EC, nomination for special interest groups including youth, people with disabilities, army and workers are set to begin on 6 April 2020, adding that the nominations and processes must use the same voters register that is used in the general elections.
The Shadow Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Medard Ssegonna, cautioned that failure to re-open the register will deny some Ugandans the privilege to be led by leaders of their choice.
“I agree that there is a need for orderliness and planning, however, what we need is to strike a balance between the rights of those individuals that turn 18 along the way, and the right for orderliness,” he said.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to resolve the impasse on re-opening of the update of voter’s register to include citizens who will turn 18 years before the general elections.