NRM kasule lumumba No Cameras at polling stations
NRM has stressed that it cannot accept a proposal by the Electoral Commission involving removal of cameras at polling stations. File Photo

NRM has stressed that it cannot accept a proposal by the Electoral Commission involving removal or no cameras at polling stations

The ruling party, NRM has stressed that it cannot accept a proposal by the Electoral Commission (EC) involving removal of cameras at different polling stations during elections.

The NRM secretary general, Ms Justine Kasule Lumumba said while attending a meeting that involved other party officials appearing before the House Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on 19th September. 

“For the issue of cameras, we don’t support the Electoral Commission,”

Earlier this month, the EC chairperson, Mr Simon Byabakama issued a proposal before the committee to make it illegal for cameras and any recording devices at any polling station during elections.

However, Ms Lumumba stated that this would be a hindrance to the work of journalists.

As well, she said that the limitation would indicate a sign of rigging and also lead to public disbelief.

 “When the NRM took power in an election 1996, there was a booth with a black cover which we later agreed to remove to ensure that elections are transparent,” Lumumba noted.

NRM party instead proposed to the committee to issue heavy fines on candidates who exceed the specified time frame for campaigns. That is between 7 am to 6 pm.

In their proposal, it is indicated that any person who violates this should be fined up to 2,000 currency points (Shs40m) for presidential candidates; 1,000 currency points for parliamentary candidates (Shs20m) and 500 currency points (Shs10m) as well as 250 currency points (Shs5m) for district chairperson candidates and councillors.

The Attorney General also proposed a fine of 48 currency points (Shs960,000) or two years imprisonment for candidates who do not respect the for campaign timelines.

A currency point is equivalent to Shs20,000.

The NRM secretariat accepted all the proposed amendments that seek to align the 2017 Constitutional Amendment that lifted the 75 year age cap for presidential candidates.

However, the Justice Forum national chairperson, Mr Kibirige Mayanja said that these fines are too harsh to be levied on small cases. He added that the fines are aimed at weakening the opposition.

“This is a minor offence and it should not constitute an offence for which candidates are fined with 48 currency points or imprisonment for two years or both,” said Mr Mayanja.

The NRM director for legal affairs, Mr Oscar Kihika noted that the proposals do not disturb the rights of independents in anyway but rather seek to regulate how independents participate in a multi-party political environment.

By John Dalton Kigozi