Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) earmarked the current EC premises at Jinja Road for construction of the Jinja-Kampala Expressway Flyover as well as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) projects. EC was expected to vacate the Jinja Road premises by June 2021.
The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has
questioned the Electoral Commission –EC on the reported breach
of procurement procedures in the move to acquire new premises for its
Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) earmarked the
current EC premises at Jinja Road for construction of the Jinja-Kampala
Expressway Flyover as well as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) projects. EC was expected to vacate the Jinja Road premises by
indicate that the electoral body now faces eviction after it overstayed the
period that the Roads Authority gave to vacate the project area. Reports also indicate that the acquisition of new EC offices has
been delayed due to vested interests among a section of Electoral Commission officials and
The matter came up this afternoon during a meeting between the Electoral Commission led by EC Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi and the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Commitee which is examining budget estimates for the next financial year 2022/2023.
EC Secretary Leonard
Mulekwa said that the Commission is currently undertaking the
procurement of new premises for its headquarters after four failed attempts
since 2017. He says that although the appropriated Capital Development budget for
this purpose is 60 billion Shillings, only 39.72 billion has been released.
But his explanation sparked off queries from MPs led by the
Committee Chairperson Robinah Rwakoojo, who raised concern about the delayed
acquisition of the new home. Rwakoojo demanded answers about the progress
so far made in acquiring new premises.
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Ndorwa East Wilfred Niwagaba noted reports
that under-hand methods are being used to flout the procurement process.
Equally, the Bunyole East MP, Yusuf Mutembuli asked the EC officials whether
they have a plan, in case they are evicted before acquiring new premises.
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Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda
said that there is information that the Electoral Commission discarded the
bidding process, something that has raised complaints from the bidders.
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Electoral Commission first advertised for bids from
suitable firms in 2016 to provide office space and, at the second
re-advertisement, Acacia Place Limited emerged as the best-evaluated bidder, a
development that sparked off complaints from the other bidders who included Simbamanyo Estates Limited who petitioned the Public
Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets –PPDA and the procurement was then
In his response to queries raised by MPs, Justice Byabakama said that the electoral body has followed the
procurement processes keenly as laid down in the law and ruled out any under-hand
“This process has been quite protracted. We have
tried many processes that have not yielded results but one thing I want to
assure this committee, the protracted nature of the process is not because of
vested interest by members of the Commission or what is playing out that some
business people are cutting deals with the Commission to sell us this House and
so on. That’s not it,” said Byabakama.
He said that they are in the final stages of
securing new premises to pave way for the Kampala Flyover project.
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However, Ssemujju disagreed with the response saying that the key query was EC abandoning a bidding process and
going for selective bidding. Byabakama insisted that whatever the Commission is
doing is within the law pertaining to procurements and that they have been in
consultation with PPDA at each stage of the process.
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The EC Chairperson said that it is regrettable that
they have had issues with their procurement process that has delayed their
vacation of the current premises.