The Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama told Parliament today that the EC was still waiting for a response from lawyer Muwada Nkunyingi to see if his queries were addressed in the reasons the EC gave for not releasing to him President Museveni’s academic papers.
“We received a communication from Mr Muwada Nkunyingi. We responded to Mr Nkunyingi and we have not heard any rejoinder from him,” Justice Byabakama said while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
He appeared to answer queries on controversies why candidates especially women who changed their maiden names to spousal names were being rejected to run for various elective positions in the 2021 elections.
Mr Byabakama responded to a matter raised by Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu who wondered why the EC would quickly release copies of academic papers of Kyadondo East MP and presidential aspirant Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine but refuse to do the same for President Museveni’s documents.
“Mr Mabirizi demanded the documents of our (NUP) presidential candidate, the EC gave them out and cited the law. When we asked for those of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the EC refused,” Mr Ssewungu said.
Lawyer Male Mabirizi petitioned EC in August to release to him certified copies of Mr Kyagulanyi’s academic document as he intended to verify the discrepancy in his age. Mr Mabirizi has since petitioned court to prosecute Mr Kyagulanyi for allegedly lying about his age when he got nominated in 2017 to run for Kyadondo East Parliamentary seat.
However Mr Byabakama said he had not come to Parliament with a copy of Mr Nkunyingi’s request to clarify on whether his issues were similar to those of Mr Mabirizi.
He however, said some of the issues raised by Mr Nkunyingi had been covered in the 2016 petition in which former Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi challenged Mr Museveni’s election.
What was requested?
In an August 24 letter to the EC, Mr Nkunyingi said he wanted to allay his doubts over Mr Museveni’s academic papers since he came to power through a rebellion in 1986 without any legal vetting.
“It is a known historical fact that Museveni initially ascended to the presidency by force and was never vetted. The promulgation of the 1995 Constitution incorporated statutory minimum academic requirements. Being that he still remained the appointing authority of those to vet his papers,” Mr Nkunyingi’s letter reads in part.
He added that; ““I now herein request for copies of certified academic documents as presented to the EC at the 2016 presidential elections by candidate Museveni upon which I will make an informed opinion on the next course of action”.
On September 3, the EC Secretary Mr Leonard Mulekwa told Mr Nkunyingi that the law does not allow for verification of the President’s documents.
“Kindly note and be informed that the academic documents for candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as presented in 2016 didn’t require verification since they are governed under Section 4 (15) of the Presidential Elections Act 2005,” the EC letter reads in part.
Mr Mulekwa added that the particular issue was “conclusively canvassed” in the Presidential election petition Number one of 2016.
To be nominated for election as President, one must have attained at least Senior Six level with a Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) or its equivalent.