Electoral Commission (EC) has cleared more than 15 persons weighing a presidential run to consult the electorate ahead of the official kick off of the 2021 election campaigns.
Interviewed yesterday, EC deputy spokesman, Paul Bukenya, confirmed that all aspirants who notified the commission have been cleared.
“True, we have received more than 15 notifications from December  to date. We have given them green light with necessary guidance as long as they stick to the election guidelines,” Bukenya said.
He added: “We have no problem with how long they will consult but they have to keep in mind that before nomination starts, there’s a requirement to collect support signatures and one must have prepared for all this.”
According to Bukenya, not every aspiring presidential candidate consults but the commission is still open to receive more notifications. Last year, EC first cleared musician and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu alias Bobi Wine. Other cleared persons include; former presidential candidate Elton Joseph Mabirizi, Timothy Mugerwa, Bob Paul Akileng, Steven Kaweesa and Apostle Ben Israel Sseninde.
Mabirizi confirmed he received his clearance letter and is ready to contest for president for the second time.
“I am coming back in 2021 and I have started preparing everything required for the election. My consultation meetings will begin on March 6, 2020,” Mabirizi said.
Yesterday, EC chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi urged persons seeking nomination for positions which require a minimum formal education of A-Level or its equivalent, to prepare to submit certified copies of their qualifications.
In a statement dated February 18, Byabakama is quoted as saying: “An aspiring candidate, whose academic qualifications were obtained outside Uganda, shall have to establish such qualification by producing a certificate issued to him or her by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) in consultation with the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB).”
He added that such a certificate shall be obtained and submitted to EC at least two months before nomination day.
According to the EC revised key milestones for the 2020/21 general elections roadmap, nomination of Parliamentary candidates will run from August 12-13, 2020 while presidential candidates will be nominated from August 20 to 21.
Parliamentary campaigns will start on August 17, 2020 while successful presidential candidates will begin on September 1, 2020. Campaigns for both positions will end on January 8, 2021 as electorates prepare to cast their votes between January 11 and February 9, 2021.
“We have given a time frame for voting but the actual polling date will be chosen within that period. Our practise, normally, is that after nomination, we select a polling day and declare it so that when candidates go for campaigns, they drive towards that date. For now, we cannot announce the actual date but only the planned time frame as required by law,” Bukenya said.
UNEB, NCHE VERIFICATIONS START
Uneb executive secretary Dan N. Odongo yesterday also issued a statement calling for applications for letters of verification for aspirants for political positions of President, MPs, and district chairpersons.
Odongo said interested persons are supposed to obtain introductory letters from their respective schools, copies of certificates to be verified and an original copy of one’s national identity card.
“Aspirants whose documents have been verified before, but may wish to verify for purposes of the election in question, should present a copy of the letter that Uneb previously wrote to the EC. Such a person does not need an introduction letter from school,” reads Odongo’s statement. “You will be notified within three working days to collect your letter of verification.”
Uneb also encouraged online application on its website or hand deliveries to its offices in Ntinda before April 15 and May 15 for district chairpersons and parliamentary and presidential aspirants respectively.
Uneb spokesperson Jennifer Kalule said at least 158 persons have been verified. Asked which positions the persons were standing for, Kalule said: “Aspirants only indicate that we should address their letters to EC and we follow that. We also give them certified copies which can be presented to their parties if they wish.”
In case one’s school is no longer in existence, she advised aspirants to get police letters to confirm the matter and present them to Uneb with one’s national ID. Meanwhile, at NCHE, about 20 applications for political purposes had been received by yesterday (Tuesday).