On 2nd December 2015, Hon. Norbert Mao presented himself for nomination for Member of Parliament, Gulu Municipality, Gulu District. However, the Returning Officer could not nominate him because his name was not found on the National Voters Register, which is a requirement for nomination under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Parliamentary Elections Act of 2005 (as amended).
The Electoral Commission has noted the false commentaries that have arisen out of this failed bid for nomination of Hon. Norbert Mao, and would like to clarify on the matter as follows:
1. The Electoral Commission compiled a National Voters’ Register for purposes of the 2015-2016 General Elections, and for this purpose, extracted the data containing the particulars of registered and verified Ugandan citizens from the National Identification Register;
2. The extracted data of the successfully verified Ugandan citizens was displayed for public scrutiny at the respective update centers in each Parish/Ward during the update period from 7th April to 11th May 2015. The exercise had been scheduled to end on 30th April 2015 but was extended twice, from 30th April to 4th May, and again, to 11th May 2015;
3. During the above period, the Commission conducted an update of the National Voters’ Register, which involved fresh registration of Ugandan citizens of 18 years and above, who had missed out on the registration conducted for purpose of issuance of a National Identity Card.
The Commission extensively publicized the exercise to ensure that Ugandan citizens register to participate in the 2016 General Elections;
4. During the update exercise, the Commission clarified that all persons who registered for purposes of elections prior to the 2010/2011 General Elections and consequent update exercises conducted for purposes of by-elections, but had not registered during the Enrolment exercise for purposes of issuance with a National Identification Card, were required to register (afresh) for purposes of voting during the 2016 General Elections;
5. In a Press Statement dated 1st April 2015, the Commission announced that effective 31st March 2015, the 2011 National Voters’ Register (as updated) had been retired and degazetted, and accordingly, it would not be used for purposes of elections and/or referenda in 2016 and beyond;
6. The information available to the Electoral Commission is that Hon. Mao Norbert did not register during the above exercises, which he, too acknowledges in his letter to the Chairperson, Electoral Commission, dated 16th October 2015, requesting for consideration and inclusion on the National Voters’ Register;
7. The Commission, in response, advised that his request was time barred, since it was raised after conclusion of the General Update whose cut-off date was 11th May 2015; and,
8. Please note that only persons whose particulars appear on the National Voters Register are eligible to participate in the ongoing electoral processes, including nomination to an elective position.
The above facts clarify the failure of Hon. Mao to be nominated as a candidate, since he never registered as a voter for purposes of the 2016 General Elections.
Finally, the Commission calls on all stakeholders in the ongoing electoral process to refrain from making statements that are likely to misguide the general public. I would like to thank those Ugandans who seek to understand the electoral process, and give informed opinion on the processes. The Commission is available to guide on any matter related to the electoral process.
For God and My Country
Eng. Dr. Badru M. Kiggundu
Chairperson, Electoral Commission