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Electoral Commission needs over One Trillion Shillings for 2026 elections


Electoral Commission needs over One Trillion Shillings for 2026 elections

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has appealed to the government to allocate additional funds to the Electoral Commission to facilitate civic education ahead of the 2026 elections.

Local election observers during the 2021 general election identified the absence of adequate civic education as a contributing factor to the increasing monetization of the country’s electoral processes and the solicitation of bribes from voters.

Owiny-Dollo expressed uncertainty about the potential outcome of the 2021 Presidential Election petition, which was withdrawn by petitioner Robert Kyagulanyi challenging the victory declaration of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

He emphasized that regardless of whether the petition was admitted or dismissed, he would have recommended that the government provide more funding to the Electoral Commission specifically for voter sensitization and education on their voting rights.

These remarks were made by the Chief Justice during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed leaders of the Electoral Commission, including its Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, who took the oath for a second term.

Other officials sworn in include the Commission’s Deputy Chairperson, Aisha Lubega Basajjanaku, Peter James Emorut, Stephen Tashobya, Anthony Okello, Caroline Beinamaryo, and Dr. Salie Simba Kayunga.

Owiny-Dollo also highlighted the importance of reviewing the numerous election petitions received after the 2021 elections, along with the decisions issued therein. This review aims to address any grievances promptly and prevent the recurrence of similar issues in future polls.

Following the 2021 general elections, the Judiciary received a total of 160 petitions at the Parliamentary and local Council levels. These petitions included 102 against Members of Parliament, 49 against District Chairpersons, and nine election applications.

The majority of these petitions cited incidents such as bribery, election violence, multiple voting, malfunctioning voter machines, and inaccurate tallying of results, which compromised the fairness of the polls.

Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Justice Byabakama, stated that they require over one trillion shillings to conduct the next elections. He assured the public of the Commission’s commitment to organizing transparent and fair elections to uphold the country’s peace and stability.

Byabakama emphasized that the Commission remains open to discussions with any stakeholders regarding its operations and assured that they will immediately begin preparations for the 2026 general elections.

Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Norbert Mao, urged the Electoral Commission members to execute their duties with impartiality, professionalism, and competence. He pledged to defend them from unwarranted criticism in Cabinet if they fulfill their responsibilities diligently.

Mao also disclosed ongoing discussions within the Cabinet regarding radical proposals to enhance electoral processes, including the potential use of body cameras by presiding officers and the introduction of electronic voting, though some members are hesitant to support these ideas.

The Electoral Commission has already issued the Roadmap for the 2026 elections, with various events including the nominations of leaders scheduled to commence in September 2025.

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