Withdraw new EC appointments, Opposition MPs demand

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Withdraw new EC appointments, Opposition MPs demand
New EC Commissioners

Opposition legislators are upset over what they say is "an NRM cadre electoral commission" that was recently appointed by President Museveni, saying it cannot possibly be independent.

President Yoweri Museveni last week appointed members of the new Electoral Commission, retaining Justice Simon Byabakama as Chairperson, Hajjat Aisha Lubega as Vice Chairperson, and two current commissioners. He has also appointed three former NRM members of Parliament, who lost in the previous general elections, to the new commission.

In a letter to Parliament Speaker Anita Among, seen by NBS TV, President Museveni renewed Justice Byabakama's contract as EC Chair for another seven years. The contracts of Vice Chairperson Hajjat Lubega and commissioners Pamela Etonu Okudi and Stephen Tasobya were also renewed.

Three new commissioners have been appointed: Dr. Ssallie Simba Kayunga, a political science professor at Makerere University; Robert Kasule Ssebunya, former NRM MP for Nansana Municipality; and Anthony Okello, former NRM MP for Kioga County in Amolatar District.

Cadre Electoral Commission?

However, opposition legislators say the  new commission cannot be independent given its close ties to the ruling party. They point out that three of the new commissioners are former NRM MPs who still hold their party cards.

The fire-spitting legislators, who advocate for changing the selection process for EC members, demand that the new appointments be withdrawn and new names presented for vetting.

Justice Minister Norbert Mao responded by advising the opposition to petition Parliament's Appointments Committee if they are dissatisfied with the new commission. He remains optimistic that the new EC will deliver a free and fair general election in 2026.

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