The Electoral Commission has announced that 3 people whose names had been submitted by some presidential aspirants to accompany them for the nominations, have tested positive for COVID-19.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the Electoral Commission has limited the number of people to escort presidential aspirants for the nominations which kick off today Monday.
A candidate as such, is being allowed only 9 people all of who have to take a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test which must turn out negative.
Addressing reporters at Kyambogo University Sports Grounds where the nomination exercise will take place on Monday and Tuesday, the Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama said that although, no single candidate has tested positive for COVID-19, 3 people whose names had been submitted by candidates to accompany them for nominations, have tested positive for the pandemic.
Byabakama however, refused to disclose their names and the candidates they were meant to give company.
“We have already notified the aspirants concerned that in your team, x or y is positive,” he said.
Byabakama said the reason the Electoral Commission decided to test all the aspirants and people who would accompany them for nominations, was primarily to ensure that the aspirants who will be moving with them and the officials at the nomination venue are secure.
He stressed that 3 people who tested positive for COVID-19 “will of course not be allowed to accompany their aspirants.”
Meanwhile, 10 out of 22 people vying for presidency have been cleared and verified by the Electoral Commission for nominations.
Asked whether the 12 people who are not yet been cleared for nominations will have the opportunity of appearing on the ballot after the nomination exercise is concluded on Tuesday, Byabakama said, the verification process is still underway.
“Unfortunately under the law, there is no specific provision as to when the Commission should cease or stop the verification process,” he said.
However, he noted that in the EC’s earlier communication to all the aspirants, the aspirants were tasked to submit the signatures backing their candidature for verification by October 17, 2020 to enable the Commission have sufficient time to go through them.
This, he added, would be an advantage to the candidates especially in the event that the Commission finds some of the signatures unauthentic which would enable the candidates to gather more signatures and submit them to the Electoral Commission.
It should be noted that under the law, each candidate aspiring for presidency is required to submit 100 signatures of registered voters from two thirds of all districts of Uganda.
In this case, the aspirants were tasked to submit signatures from at least 98 districts of Uganda which make two thirds of all Ugandan districts.
Byabakama therefore confirmed that verification process is still underway.
“Up to now, verification is still going on for some candidates and therefore, we cannot book those candidates on any hour within those two days (Monday and Tuesday) as eligible for nomination before that process is undertaken.”
The Commission, he said has a task of ensuring that they verify every signature that has been submitted by the aspirants.