The elections body, the Electoral Commission has broken silence on the dismissal of its eight senior Commissioners including Secretary to the Commission Sam Rwakojo, spokesperson Jotham Taremwa, Godfrey Wanyoto who headed procurement among others.
President Museveni on Tuesday this week ordered Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama to sack the individuals.
Although, the news had it that they were sacked in relation to the irregularities in the procurement and printing of ballot papers for the 2021 general elections, the Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama speaking to reporters at EC headquarters in Kampala on Thursday afternoon said the officials tendered in their early retirement to the Commission.
“It’s not a strange phenomenon or occurrence for someone to seek to retire early even though a month or 2 months back you were given contract or your contract was renewed,” said Byabakama.
Asked why the affected persons chose to retire, the Chairman said they cited personal reasons.
Byabakama refuted reports that he was ordered by President Museveni to sack the individuals reiterating that their departure has nothing to do with procuring ballot papers.
“These people have cited personal reasons. Therefore, I want to tell people of Uganda that there is nothing strange in as far as tendering in application for early retirement is concerned,” he said.
He added, “we were not directed by H.E to sack them over procurement issues. The reasons fir seeking early retirement are personal.”
Yesterday Wednesday, the Inspectorate the Government confirmed that it had launched investigations into corruption, abuse of office among others crimes by the victims.
Byabakama however, said that he was unaware that the IGG has launched investigations into the matter.
“However, I wish to say that whether the investigation has any link, the act of officers is connected to early retirement,” said Byabakama.
Further, when put to task to explain why senior Commissioners including Secretary Rwakojo who is the accounting officer to the Commission decided to resign at a time when the country is gearing up for the general election, Byabakama said, “the work of the Commission is based on institutions not individuals.”
“I want to assure you that the work of the Institution is moving on well and the people of Uganda to know that roadmap will continue.”
PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
On the issue of printing ballot papers for the 2021 elections, Byabakama said that currently, no individual or company has been contracted to do the job although the process is underway.
“The status of procuring or printing ballot papers is ongoing. We haven’t however awarded that contract to a particular person or company,” he said.
Furthermore, Byabakama said that the Commission is in the process of identifying possible replacements in the shortest time possible.
He assured the country that the development will not affect the forthcoming election.
Byabakama confirmed that their letters of retirement were received yesterday Wednesday.