The Electoral Commission yesterday unveiled the roadmap to next year’s elections setting October 25 and 26, 2010, as the official nomination dates for candidates intending to run for president.
Speaking during a media briefing convened at EC headquarters in Kampala, Mr Joseph Ongaria, the commission’s deputy chairperson, also hoped for a smooth and transparent process in what early indications suggest could be a much more animated contest.
“All presidential candidates will be nominated by the Commission on the above dates,” Mr Ongaria said.
He added: “The Presidential and Parliamentary elections will take place between February 12 and March 1. We have already come up with a date for presidential elections but we are still finalising with some activities; these activities will not change the period I have stated.”
Commission Secretary Sam Rwakoojo said unlike in the past where candidates paid cash at the nomination table, this time candidates will pay the nomination fee in a bank to be determined and only present a deposit slip.
Mr Rwakoojo advised all intending candidates for the highest office in the land to closely study the constitutional requirements. “Every candidate must be between 35 and 75 years of age, have at least A-level qualification, and must pay a sum of Shs8 million,” Mr Rwakoojo said. “Every candidate must gather signatures from 100 people from two-thirds of all districts in Uganda to support his nomination, present two passport size photographs and three copies of nomination forms.”
Upon nomination, Mr Rwakoojo said, each candidate will receive transport facilitation, security and Shs20 million to help them traverse the country. He said there are no plans to increase transport facilitation to candidates despite the creation of new districts now numbering 115, up from 80 in 2006.
The 2011 polls could see more aspirants with players from a larger number of political parties declaring their interest. There were five and six presidential candidates in the 2006 and 2001 elections, respectively.
Uganda’s largest opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change, has picked its president, Dr Kizza Besigye, as flag bearer. But Dr Besigye first faces Uganda Peoples Congress president, Olara Otunnu, and Justice Forum flag bearer Hussein Kyanjo, in a battle to lead the Inter-Party Co-operation, a loose coalition of five parties working to field a single candidate.
President Museveni, also chairman of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), has been endorsed by two top party organs. In September, the party National Delegates Conference is slated to endorse his candidature.
Others in the race are Democratic Party president general Norbert Mao, People’s Progressive party leader Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, People’s Development Party head, Abed Bwanika, United Uganda People’s Party leader Ali Mukungu, and Forum for Integrity in Leadership president, Emmanuel Tumusiime.
Mr Samuel Lubega, who considers himself leader of a faction of the Democratic Party, also plans to run.