The New EC Commissioners

1726 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
In the political circles, Simon Byabakama Mugenyis name will always be associated with the 2005-2006 controversial rape trial against then FDC party president, Dr Kizza Besigye.

 President Yoweri Museveni today nominated six new commissioners to the Electoral Commission, days after the old commission retired.
Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, is to head the new Commission, deputised by Hajjati Aisha Lubega, a former head mistress at Nabisunsa Girls School. The other commissioners are Peter Emorut, Stephen Tashobya, Prof George Piwang and Mustapha Ssebagala.
  
"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.

But who are the new commissioners?

Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama
  
In the political circles, Simon Byabakama Mugenyi's name will always be associated with the controversial rape trial against then FDC party president, Dr Kizza Besigye.
 
Shortly after he returned from South Africa in late 2005, after five years of exile that started shortly after losing the 2001 presidential elections, Dr Besigye was arrested and charged with rape. The state then argued that the offence had been committed nine years earlier at Col. Besigye's home and that the victim, Joanita Kyakuwa, was working as a maid at the army officer's home.
 
As deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Byabakama was at the centre of the case. The case was eventually dismissed, but only days before the February 2006 elections.
  
When he was appointed High Court Judge in 2008, there were some voices which doubted his independence and neutrality. They based their arguments on the manner in which he handled the Besigye case.
  
And yet, for the many years in DPP's office, Byabakama prosecuted a number of high-profile trials, including being the lead prosecutor in the famous murder case against the Tooro Prime Minister, John Katuramu and that of businessman Kooky Sharma.
 
In October 2015, Byabakama was one of the six High Court Judges appointed by President Yoweri Museveni to the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court on promotion.
 
And now, if Parliament endorses his latest appointment, he will become the next chairperson of the Electoral Commission.
  
Born in Hoima district on January 31, 1957, Justice Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi joined the Bench as High Court Judge in May 2008.
  
He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University obtained 1980 and a Diploma in Legal Practice from Law Development Centre - LDC.
  
He went through Kabalega Secondary School in Masindi for both his Ordinary and Advanced Level studies between 1971 and 1976.
 
After his elevation in June 2008, Byabakama was posted to the High Court Circuit in Lira as Resident Judge. He also served as Resident Judge in Soroti in March 2010 and Masindi in June 2013.
  
Justice Byabakama worked in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) , first joining as a Resident State Attorney in Masindi district in 1981 before being promoted to senior state attorney in 1987.
 
He was elevated to Principal State Attorney in 1992 and Senior Principal State Attorney in 1996. He went on to become Deputy DPP and then a Judge in 2008.
  
The father of six is married to Dorothy Kasaija Mugenyi.
  
Hajjat Aisha Lubega
 
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.
  
Steven Tashobya
 
He represented Kajara County in the Ninth Parliament on the National Resistence Movement (NRM) party ticket, until 2016
 
He is also the former Chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee under which the Electoral Commission is scrutinised.

 
He is the current Chairperson of the Uganda Red Cross Society.
  
Professor George Piwang
 
Piwang is a research fellow at Makerere University. He was on the 10-member Omaswa Committee that produced the 2014 report on Job Evaluation, Re-Organisation of the Staff Structure and Financing of Makerere University. The committee was chaired by Professor Francis Omaswa.
  
Prof. Piwang is also currently serving as a board member of Uganda Investments Authority, where he chairs the Investment Promotion and Public Relations Committee.
 
He went to Lango College, Lira for his secondary education before joining the National Teachers' College, Kyambogo from where he qualified as a High School Teacher of Mathematics and Physics.
  
He later graduated from Liberty University, Lynchburg, USA, with a BS degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Mathematics, Political Science, and Theology). He later obtained a Masters in Theological Studies (MTS) from Duke University, Durham, USA.
  
He was a PhD in Religion student of Duke University, 1993-95 and 2004-2006; and a Duke University PhD pre-dissertation research student at the Faculty of Theology, Oxford University, 1995-1996, courtesy of a Fellowship from the St. Augustine's Foundation, Canterbury.
  
Piwang was the Coordinating Consultant of a three-person Expert Critique of the Plan for the Modernization of Agriculture (PMA) for the Office of the President in 2000.
  
He later became Editorial Consultant, Education Sector Review, Ministry of Education and Sports, in March/April 2002.
 
He was a Lecturer and Founding Director, Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies, Gulu University, between 2002 and 2004; and Political and Diplomatic Consultant for the UN Women-ICGLR Heads of State Summit, Kampala, Uganda, on Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), December 2011.
 
Piwang-Jalobo has conceived initiatives in promotion of girls education for FAWE Uganda, e.g., Women of Distinction and Models of Excellence Award, 1999; the Sarah Ntiro Lecture and Award 2000; and Africa Women's University of Science and Technology (AWUST), Tororo, 2002/3 - a partnership between His Highness the Kwar Adhola/Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution, TACI, and FAWE Uganda.
 
He also conceived the Professor Ali A. Mazrui Endowed Chair and Scholarship and the East African Ali A. Mazrui Centre for Global Studies in Makerere University 2008; and H.E. Mwai Kibaki Endowed Chair in Economics and the East African Mwai Kibaki Centre for Leadership, Public Finance/Policy in Makerere University 2008.
 
He was Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) Consultant for the 2010 launch and 2011 inauguration of Makerere University's Female Scholarship Foundation, FSF, with its Board of Trustees; and the 2011 Re-birth of the Makerere African Lecture Series.
  
Mustapha Ssebagala
 
He is currently serving as the Executive Director Uganda Manufacturer's Association.
 
He has served as a director in a number of companies including Semwanga Construction Company, Africa Travel and Triple M Tour and Travel.
 
He holds a Master's Degree in Education Management and another in Public Administration majoring in Human Resource and Economic Planning.