The Electoral Commission has said they will meet and discuss with officials from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) over the deal to print ballot papers for 2021 elections.
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) earlier this week cancelled the deal given to foreign firms to print ballot papers following a petition by local firms.
However, commenting on the same, the Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama said the due to the nature of the deal, they decided the deal could not be given to local firms.
“It is not a mere sentimental undertaking or process. It is a question of capacity. In our assessment, our technical team realized there were shortcomings in technical competences of some of the local printers particularly in the area of ballot paper printing,”Byabakama said.
“Given the high numbers, the high variables and the time element. The deal could not be given to local firms.”
The EC chairperson explained that they are operating under tight schedules following the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, adding that they need firms that can be able to meticulously do the job and within a short period of time, a thing he said local firms might not be able to pull off well.
“It is in that regard we said let the printing be awarded to foreign entities not that we don’t support local entities in form of BUBU(Buy Uganda Build Uganda). Remember we are handling a very delicate process and commission cannot afford to have any delayed delivery or printing of ballot papers,” he said.
He explained that any delay will push the EC into a situation of non-compliance with the provisions of the law that stipulates that elections must be held within a specified timeline.
“PDDA ruled otherwise but we are having further discussions to make sure this is resolved. We can’t afford to delay anyone. Time is not on our side.”
He noted that they can’t afford any delay that he said would take the country into unchartered waters, a situation which is undesirable.
The NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba had earlier urged that the deal to print ballot papers for the 2021 polls should be given to local firms.
“As we talk, government is looking at how to reduce taking money outside the country. The deal should be given to local firms but let it be done transparently. Every candidate should send agents to oversee the entire process,” Lumumba said.