The Electoral Commission has denied as untrue, reports that eight senior officials were sacked on orders of President Museveni early this week.
Eight senior Electoral Commission officers including Sam Rwakoojo(secretary), Joseph Lwanga(Director Finance and Administrator ), Godfrey Wanyoto (head of procurement); Jotham Taremwa (Public Relations Officer); Pontius Namugera (Information Technology director), Jordan Lubega (Administrator networks); Charles Musuza and Edgar Kasigwa (data specialists) were on Tuesday shown the exit at the election body.
However, addressing journalists on Thursday, Electoral Commission chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama told journalists that the senior officials willingly asked to retire.
“Those staff tendered in their applications for early retirement from the commission on personal grounds. It is not a strange phenomenon or occurrence for someone to seek to retire early even though a month or two months back you were given contract or your contract was renewed,” Byabakama said.
The Electoral Commission boss insisted that the eight senior officials had cited personal problems that had forced them seek early retirement adding that it is not something new or strange.
Whereas it has been reported that President Museveni sacked the eight officials over a deal to print the 2021 ballot papers, Justice Byabakama didn’t reason with the same argument.
“The process of procuring or printing ballot papers is ongoing. We have not awarded that contract to any particular person or company. Therefore, we were not directed by His Excellence to sack them over procurement issues,”
On reports of an investigation by the office of the Inspector General of Government over corruption, Justice Byabakama said he is not aware of any ongoing investigation.
The Electoral Commission boss however said they have started a process to fill the positions left vacant by the eight senior commissioners.
Parliament on Wednesday directed government to explain in detail the 2021 ballot paper deal that climaxed with the sacking of top Electoral Commission officials early this week.
According to reports, the sacking stems from the rejection of a bid by Veridos Identity Solutions GMBH, a German company that had earlier got a joint venture deal with Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) to print money and other security printing deals for government.
It is said the president had recommended the company to take the deal of printing the 2021 ballot papers but the same was ignored by the Electoral Commission.
However, other sources indicated that the failure by Electoral Commission officials to report Robert Kyagulanyi’s “suspicious activities” of taking over National Unity Platform as his new political party could have played a role in their sacking.
Whereas the party was registered in 2004, according to the source, Museveni was not made aware of the 2019 dealings that later saw Bobi Wine take over ownership of the political party.