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UMA Decides: Why Ministry of Gender’s intervention

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By BigEyeUg Team

Uncertainty continues to flourish the musicians’ fraternity ever since the Uganda Musicians Association (UMA) decided to hold its first ever general elections.

The activations to the ‘UMA Decides 2022’ polls went successfully as a mammoth of musicians revealed their interests in running for different seats in the association.

As usual around the world, stardom capped the Presidential seat which had three candidates; Cindy Sanyu (incumbent), King Saha and Lord Bitemu, all ready to battle for Supremacy.

The first polls date announced by Uganda Musicians’ Association Electoral Committee headed by Mr. Geoffrey Ekongot was May 23, 2022 but it was altered to June 06, 2022 due to some challenges with the voting process.

The long-awaited day for the polls arrived, casting of the ballot was smoothly taking place as artists all over the country chose their best representatives through an online voting system.

All was going on well not until presidential aspirant Semanda Mansoor a.k.a King Saha and his camp raided the main votes tallying point at the National Theatre as they complained of the lack of transparency of the voting system.

King Saha’s lawyers headed by Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago issued a legal threat to the UMA Electoral committee and also asked for an immediate cancellation of the polls, something that Mr. Geoffrey Ekongot and team consented to.

It was then upto UMA electoral commission to land the best way to suit all candidates in the race.

Later, after a series of research and internal meetings, it was resolved that the elections would return with a physical voting process hosted only at a single polling center, National Theatre Kampala on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

This likewise wasn’t pleasant for the upcountry musicians, who seemed to have been disregarded from taking part in the polls, contrarily to the UMA constitution. These petitioned against the voting process.

It was at this juncture that top arts governing body, National Culture Forum (NCF) intervened to establish a uniform ground for all members of the association.

NCF discouraged the voting process approved and advised UMA Electoral commission to halt the polls until a much better way is found.

However, the electoral body was hesitant to comply with the NCF’s directive as it insisted to hold the polls on the slated date, citing insufficient funds to sustain the best voting process.

This prompted NCF to seek aid from the government through the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development.

In a meeting held on Thursday, June 23, 2022 between the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, UMA Policy Board, and NCF, it was resolved that the polls be postponed until further notice.

This would permit ample time for the Ministry to clearly mend the issue raised by the musicians’ body.

In another letter released on Monday, June 27, 2022, the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development tabled reasons behind the postponement of the UMA polls.

It says that that the Minister will consult the Attorney General on legal issues that have been raised by the Uganda artists’ body.

On the issue of petitions from the upcountry members of the Uganda Musicians Association (UMA) clusters about including the members in the elections, the Minister commits to mobilizing funds as soon as possible, to facilitate upcountry members’ travel to Kampala to cast their votes.

We will keep you posted

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