KAMPALA. Nominations for Member of Parliament aspirants kicked off this morning with more than 10,000 candidates expected to return nomination forms to Electoral Commission (EC) district returning officers.
The two-day exercise kick off with pomp as several candidates assemble their entourage to witness the historic moment ahead of their official campaigns.
Currently, there are 378 MP seats in Parliament but the Electoral Commission boss, Dr Badru Kiggundu told Daily Monitor this morning that the statutory number is 427.
The number of MPs increased as a result of the creation of more districts, municipalities and constituencies.
The Ugandan parliament is composed of 238 Constituency Representatives, 112 District Woman Representatives, 10 Uganda People's Defence Forces Representatives, 5 Representatives of the Youth, 5 Representatives of Persons with Disabilities, 5 Representatives of Workers, and 10 ex officio Members.
Commenting about the exercise, Dr Kiggundu says: “Since it’s the first day, we haven’t received any challenges. My team is on ground and we are ready to receive all the numbers that will be coming for nominations,”.
Asked about the expected numbers of those who picked nomination forms, he said that due to much enthusiasm among the population, “the number is going to be quite big”.
After nominations, EC will display the names for four statutory days for verification.
“We want to ensure that the list is devoid of outsiders and after that, our job will be to procure ballot papers and my team is on course,” he said.
The nomination exercise paves way for official MP campaigns.
In Kampala alone, at least 61 aspirants seeking to vie for nine Parliamentary slots are expected to return their nomination forms.
Mr Charles Ntege, the returning officer of Kampala District said the number has increased by two folds compared to the previous 2011 general elections.
“The number has greatly increased and yet the slots are just nine . More are still picking the nominations forms, meaning we might have a figure hitting 70,” Mr Ntege observed.
Nomination of Candidates for Parliamentary (Constituency and District Woman) is in line with Section 9. of Parliamentary Elections Act Hotspots More losers in the party primaries especially in the ruling NRM party have vowed to vie as independents.
In Iganga Municipality, former Mbarara Resident District Commissioner, Mr Ngoma Ngime has vowed to ply the independent route after losing to the incumbent, Peter Mugume.
The High Court in Jinja has also blocked the nomination of state Minister of Lands, also Kayunga District Woman MP, Aidah Nantaba over lack of academic qualification.
This follows a petition by two Kayunga voters; Bruhan Kasumba and Margret Nabasirye questioning the authenticity of the minister’s academic papers.
In their petition, the duo accuse Nantaba of using someone else’s academic papers to qualify for nomination.
Constitutional Affairs minister, Major General Kahinda Otafiire, who lost to Dononzio Mugabe Kahonda in party primaries for MP for Ruhinda in Mitooma district is likely to contest as an independent.