40 LOSERS IN THE 2021 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS HAVE PETITIONED
40 losers in the 2021 parliamentary elections have petitioned
Over 40 losers in the January 14, 2021 Parliamentary elections, have petitioned the high court challenging the outcome of elections. The grounds for petitioning range from voter bribery to forged academic papers.
The laws of Uganda are clear on voter bribery and falsifying documents. If an election is nullified on both those grounds, the Electoral Commission will have to organize a by-election. By-elections for constituency Member of Parliament cost the taxpayer UGX 350 million while by-elections for District Woman Member of Parliament and District Chairperson cost the UGX 450 – 500 million to organize.
The secret known is that offenses such as voter bribery and utterance of false academic documents as the case is against Kawempe North constituency Member of Parliament-elect, Muhammad Segirinya, are always pre-meditated.
The shared view of ACFIM and several members of the out-going 10th Parliament of Uganda is that if an elected leader is found guilty of vote-buying or tendering false academic by courts of law, he/she should not only lose his/her seat, but must be banned from contesting any elections again, or at least for the next 10 years.
In 2016, ACFIM conducted a survey of the newly constituted 10th Parliament to seek their attitudes on a number of key reforms needed in the electoral laws. ACFIM interviewed 185 legislators between September 16th and October 7th, 2016. One of the questions asked in the survey was:
“Do you agree or disagree that a candidate who is found guilty of vote-buying by the courts of law should lose their seats and be banned from contesting ANY elections again?” Below is an analysis of how they responded to the question.
MP Attitudes on Punitive Action against Voter Bribery
Source: ACFIM Survey of the 10 Parliament on Campaign Finance Reforms, 2016
From the above figure, it was clear that majority of the legislators in the 10th Parliament (79%) support the proposal to take stringent punitive action against leaders who engage in voter bribery – an offense that is clearly stated in the Presidential Elections Act (as amended) 2005, and the Parliamentary Elections Act (as amended) 2005.
Time has come for the men and women who wittingly falsify academic documents well knowing that they do not have the academic qualifications required by law, and those who engage in voter bribery well knowing it is an offense, to face consequences for their action as one way of cleaning up Uganda’s politics.
There cannot be hygiene in Uganda’s politics if the situation where a candidate whose election has been nullified on grounds of voter bribery or of submitting falsified academic documents, turns around and gets to be nominated in the by-election. There must and should be consequences.