Signatures submitted by former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Gen. Mugisha Muntu’s team to the Electoral Commission (EC) in the quest to register a new political party are yet to be verified. The EC on Friday clarified it had not yet cleared Muntu’s party, but the process of verification was still going on.
Last month, Muntu and his team agreed with the EC on the name of the new party, Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), pending further verifications before the registration certificate is issued. In fulfilment of one of the requirements outlined in section 7 of the Political Parties and Organisations Act, Muntu’s team on November 28, last year submitted signatures collected from districts verification by the EC.
According to Jotham Taremwa, the EC spokesperson, the verification process was expected to be completed within one month. “We gave our returning officers up to December 31, last year, but because of Christmas and New Year festivities, the process delayed. We returned to office on January 7. It is not in our interest to delay anybody, but in this case, it was unavoidable,” he said. The law requires a party to gather at least 50 signatures of registered voters from at least two-thirds of all the districts before being registered.
Talemwa confirmed that Muntu’s party submitted signatures from 98 districts, well above two-thirds of the districts in Uganda. In his September 27, Hotel Africana declaration of the New Formation, a consultative platform towards achieving a political party, Muntu pledged that the party would be formed before Christmas Day. However, this was not released casting doubt on whether the party would ever see the light of day.
Without divulging further details, insisting that the public should wait for the official communication in the near future, Taremwa said party colours and symbols had been verified too. The law also provides that full description of the identifying symbols, slogans and colours of the organisation or political party be approved by EC and a registration fee be paid thereafter.
As part of the registration process, the EC may cause independent inquiries to be made to ascertain the truth or correctness of particulars submitted with the application and the EC is required to process the application within six months. The law also bars the EC from registering any political party or organisation whose name, slogan or colour resembles that of another that has already been registered or whose aims and objectives or constitution contravenes any law.
In an interview with The UGANDANZ recently, Muntu said although their intention was to launch their party last month, they could not do so until the EC has completed the process of registration. Muntu, who urged supporters to be patient, pledged that as soon as the registration certificate is issued, the party will officially be launched. According to Muntu, the party will stand for justice, transparency and equity before the law, fairness in dealing with public affairs and zerotolerance to corruption.