Mao gives EC 48-hour ultimatum

KAMPALA. Democratic Party president Norbert Mao has given the Electoral Commission 48 hours within which to respond to his petition contesting his disqualification to run for Parliament, or else he would take legal action.
Mr Mao was last week disqualified from running for the Gulu Municipality parliamentary seat because he didn’t have a national Identity Card which according to the EC is a mandatory requirement for one to vote or contest in next year’s general elections.
Mr Mao, who addressed a press conference on Tuesday, said the EC has no legal basis to scrap his name off the voters’ register on grounds that he has no national ID.

The law
According to Mr Mao’s lawyer, Mr Nicholas Opiyo, the contest is grounded on the premise of Section 4(1) (b) of the Parliamentary Elections Act of 2005, which states: “A person is qualified to be a Member of Parliament if that person (b) is a registered voter.”
Mr Opiyo argues that since Mr Mao had a valid voters’ card used in the previous elections, there was no basis denying him nomination on the account of lack of a national ID, which he failed to acquire because he was sick.

“EC has no power to disregard a national voters’ register because Mr Mao is a registered voter with a valid voters’ card which he has been using in the previous elections. Removing one’s name from the register is only done when one has died or has registered more than once,” Mr Opiyo said.
Mr Opiyo said the law gives the EC mandate to compile, maintain and update the national register but not remove people’s names.
“The requirement for a national Identity Card for purposes of elections has no legal basis because the process of compiling a voters’ register is a constitutional matter,” Mr Opiyo said.
EC deputy spokesman Paul Bukenya said yesterday Mr Mao’s complaint would be disposed of on Thursday.