MAY 1, 2010: Kiggundu Not Worried About America

Kiggundu Not Worried About America
SOURCE: The New Vision
By Henry Mukasa

Kampala — ELECTORAL Commission chairman Eng. Badru Kiggundu has said he is not scared of the self-appointed observatory role by the US on the electoral process ahead of the 2011 elections.

Responding to a report the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, submitted to the US Congress on the 2011 elections, the EC boss said he had received many calls from journalists about the issue but he was not bothered at all.

"Journalists have called me asking, 'are you worried?' Worried about what?" Kiggundu said. He then offered the Americans some advice. "They better come as observers not as monitors because no one has accredited them."

Kiggundu made the remarks while addressing the Uganda Law Society (ULS) pre-AGM conference on the theme, "The quest for free and fair elections in a democratic Uganda" at Mbale Resort in Mbale District.

Kiggundu, who presented a paper: "An overview of Uganda's Electoral Process" also dismissed calls for him and the commission to resign for perceived lack of impartiality. "Will I resign? I can never run away from a problem. It takes a human being to solve a problem affecting human beings. Uganda is my country and I love it," he said.

He was answering a question from the president of the Uganda Law Society on whether he would consider calls from a section of Ugandans to resign for the sake of lending the 2011 elections credibility. "I have respect. I don't have fear. Advice can be taken or not."

Kiggundu again lamented that electoral reforms have delayed and substantially interrupted the road map the EC had set ahead of the 2011 general elections.

He announced that the registration of voters will start on May 3 and run for one month. "This time there will be no extension because we are already late," Kiggundu said.

"I want you to support me. We had to extend the exercise so that we use biometric technology," the EC boss added.

The EC boss explained that he has calculated that a mere extension of the registration process by 10 days costs taxpayers sh5b, which was not budgeted for. He said voters who would be found to have registered in two or more polling stations at the end of the exercise will have their names retained at the last station.

He said the register will be displayed for 15 days and 15 left for 'natural justice'.

Commenting on the legal requirement for the EC to provide a copy of the voters' register to each of the participating political parties, two weeks before the polling date, Kiggundu said updating the register may delay because of the technology EC has at present.

He explained that given the nominal fee of sh500 per page, the EC would need to part with sh380m per copy. "If all the registered 47 political parties registered had candidates, I would need sh14b for registers alone.