Electoral Commission to evaluate  2021 polls results,  rejects audit

Polling officials at a polling station. Photo/File

PARLIAMENT- The Electoral Commission chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama, yesterday said they will evaluate the 2021 General Election but ruled out an audit because there is no supporting law under which it can be carried out. 

He made the remarks yesterday in a separate interview immediately after his interface with the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee. 

Mr Byabakama said they will evaluate their processes and document their successes and weaknesses which will inform any changes that will be introduced ahead of the 2026 elections. 

“It involves having engagements with stakeholders. We shall move out to regions and invite stakeholders and ask them their experiences and generate a report,” Mr Byabakama said.
However, he did not say when this evaluation will be done saying they need resources to prepare. 
According to Justice Byabakama, the country missed an opportunity to audit the results after National Unity Platform (NUP) party president Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, withdrew a petition challenging the January 14 Presidential and parliamentary elections where he emerged run-up to President Museveni. 

In February, Mr Kyagulanyi announced that he had instructed his lawyers to withdrawal his petition, citing frustration by the Supreme Court justices.

He said he was instead heading to the court of public opinion.
 “We were waiting for court to say, here are the declaration forms from which we based our results to announce the winner. 

Even this business of auditing the elections as some people are commanding, under which law are you asking EC or government to audit the 2021 elections? We are a country governed by law,” Justice Byabakama said. 

He added: “The nearest audit we can have is through the courts of law,” 

Meanwhile, Mr Byabakama said he was not aware that Bobi Wine had been under house arrest after elections and wondered how much of this could have affected his appeal against the outcome of the presidential race.
“I learnt from the press that he was prevented from leaving his home. I do not know how this impacted on his ability to file the declaration forms within the prescribed 15 days at the Supreme Court. What I know for a fact is that these declaration forms were availed to his agents on January 14 after closure of polling and counting of votes,” Mr Byabakama added.