Among the politicians who have since sworn deed polls and changed their names include President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who swore a deed poll on October 6.

2021 polls: Why politicians are changing names

Politicians across the board are scrambling to ensure the Electoral Commission does not denominate

Among the politicians who have since sworn deed polls and changed their names include President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who swore a deed poll on October 6.

POLITICS   2021 ELECTION

Politicians across the board are scrambling to ensure the Electoral Commission does not denominate them based on discrepancies in their names as indicated on their National Identity cards and academic documents.

Among the politicians who have since sworn deed polls and changed their names include President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who swore a deed poll on October 6, changing his names to Yoweri Tibahaburwa Kaguta Museveni to correspond with his academic documents.

“I formally and absolutely renounce and abandon the use of the names, , Yoweri Tibahaburwa Museveni and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and assume and adopt my full name Yoweri Tibahaburwa Kaguta Museveni”, Museveni stated.

National Unity Platform Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi has also since sworn a deed pole denouncing his earlier names. “I Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert known by the names Kyagulanyi Ssentamu R, Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu, Roberts Sentamu Kyagulanyi do hereby absolutely adopt the name Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert and do hereby call upon, notify and request all of you, the general public and the world at large to refer to and describe and address me by the names Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert,”

Others include Nantaba Idah Erios who indicated that in some of her documents she used the name Nantaba Idah but on her identity card, she used the name Nantaba Ida Erios.  Lt. Gen Henry Tumukunde also swore a deed poll adopting the use of the name Kakurugu. “For and on behalf of myself, I have adopted the name Kakurugu that formerly appeared as an initial (K) on all my documents as it appears on my national identification in addition to my other names and so that I may hereafter be called, known and distinguished by my assumed name Tumukunde Henry Kakurugu,” Tumukunde swore.

Alliance for National Transformation leader Maj. Gen Mugisha Muntu Gregg also adopted the use of the initial M used in his academic documents noting that he will be known as Mugisha Muntu Gregory which are the names on his identity cards.

President Museveni’s lawyer Kiryowa Kiwanuka in an interview noted that the President did not change nor adopt any new names. “There are those people who have been calling him Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, others Yoweri Tibahaburwa Museveni. When the President swore the deed poll, he was merely telling you that all those are his names and that you are right to call him Yoweri Tibahaburwa Kaguta Museveni,” Kiwanuka said.

The move to change names follows a 2018 High Court ruling in the case of Catherine Achola Osepelem in which she had sued the Electoral Commission (EC) challenging their decision of denominating her as a candidate for Pallisa Woman Member of Parliament, on grounds that she did not possess academic papers as required under section 4(1) (c) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005.

EC decision to denominate Achola was made as a result of the complaint by the National Resistance Movement in a letter dated June 4, 2018, to the commission challenging the nomination of Achola Catherine Osupelem with names that do not match with the names on the requisite academic documents.

The NRM lawyers in their letter to EC noted that Catherine Osupelem Achola was illegally nominated.  The lawyers further submitted that Catherine Achola Osupelem who was nominated is different from Achola Catherine whose academic papers were tendered in during the nomination

In his ruling Justice Musa Ssekaana among others observed that when a new name is added, that automatically means a change of person or new identity and any person who knew the person before the change of name will not be in a position to recognize the person by the new names unless explanations are made or a photograph is shown.  The Judge noted that the changing of the name of the Achola created difficulty of substantiating the previous identity alongside the new name. He further noted that the EC was right to denominate her due to discrepancy in her names in academic documents and National Register and National Identity card.

City lawyers Isha Baguma of Twesigye, Oyuko and Company Advocates noted that the High Court ruling effectively meant that, “the Electoral Commission shall not nominate a candidate whose names on the National ID do not match with those on their Academic documents unless the candidate officially changes his/her name through a deed poll in case of major discrepancies like additional names or the alternative swears a statutory declaration in case of  clerical errors on the names like spelling errors.”

Baguma noted that the Registration of Persons Act requires a person to have all his names conform to what is in the National identity cards and that a person can swear a deed poll to effect any changes.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuzi on Thursday told parliament that a cabinet meeting held on Wednesday resolved that government amends the Registration of Persons Act to allow women who get married and take on their husbands’ surnames to be allowed to contest for political positions.

Legislators had recently raised the matter that many Ugandans with variations between their names on the academic documents and the National Identity Cards had been blocked by the Electoral Commission to be nominated for the position of district chairperson.

Several MPs, however, protested the decision by cabinet to confine the amendment to women who get married.

Kassanda North MP Patrick Nsamba said, “It is not only married women who are affected. There are many people for various reasons who have variations between the names on the National Identity Cards and those in their academic documents. Nominations are going on and some have already been stopped by the Electoral Commission on that basis.”

Busia County MP Geoffrey Machio said, “The statement by the Deputy Attorney General shows the government has no political will to help people with variations in their names because it is not only married women that are affected.”

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