President Yoweri Museveni has appointed Justice Simon Byabakama as new Electoral Commission chairperson, days after Dr Badru Kiggundu retired.
Justice Byabakama is to be deputized by Hajjati Aisha Lubega, with Peter Emorut, Stephen Tashobya, Prof George Piwang and Mustapha Ssebagala as members of the Commission.
“By authority given to the President by Article 60 (1) of the Constitution, President Museveni has nominated the following persons to be members of the Electoral Commission and sent their names to Parliament for consideration and approval,” reads a statement posted on Facebook by Don Wanyama, the Senior Press Secretary to the President.
The new appointees replace six commissioners including Engineer Badru Kiggundu whose term in office expired two days ago after serving in this capacity since November 28, 2002.
The other retiring commissioners include Joseph Biribonwa who has been the Deputy Chairperson, Tom Buruku, Jenny Okello, Stephen Ongaria and Mugabi Justine Ahabwe.
Justice Byabakama became a Judge of the High Court in 2008 after serving as deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). He was elevated to the Court of Appeal in September 2015.
It is second time lucky for Hajat Aisha Lubega, a former head mistress at Nabisunsa Girls School. She who would have been on the team retiring now had parliament not rejected her appointment in 2002. She has had to wait 14 years to get onto the Commission again.
In 2002, Aggrey Awori, who was then a member of the parliamentary committee on appointments, reasoned that the nomination of Hajat Aisha Lubega for appointment on the Electoral Commission was unacceptable.
The committee chaired by the then Parliament Speaker Edward Ssekandi rejected Lubega’s appointment on grounds that her husband, Hajji Badru Wagwa Lubega, was chairperson of the Education Service Commission. Sekandi is now vice president.
The MPs said it was improper to have two people from the same family on statutory commissions.
It is not clear at this time how Parliament will handle the matter since Wagwa Lubega is still the chairperson Education Service Commission.
Awori, who had contested and lost the 2001 presidential elections, also reasoned said appointments of Muslim women in high public offices had been revolving around less than 10 families.
At the time, current deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah, who was an opposition legislator representing Omoro County, also urged colleagues to reject Lubega’s name if it was brought before the committee again.
Stephen Tashobya is a former Member of Parliament for Kajara County in Ntungamo district, who chaired the legal affairs committee in the 9th Parliament. This is the same committee that scrutinises the work of the Electoral Commission.