EC rallies secondary students to register for 2026 polls

EC Chairperson, Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon, delivered an inspiring keynote speech as part of the Electoral Commission's ongoing voter education outreach initiatives.

The Uganda Electoral Commission (EC) has rallied all secondary school students who are 18 years and above to get registered as voters in order not to miss participating in the 2025/2026 electoral process.

“In order for you to actively participate in the electoral process as a voter or to be voted, you must be 18 years and above, a citizen of Uganda and having expressed willingness to become a voter by registering first,” said EC chairman Justice Simon Byabakama.

He made the call on Sunday, June 23rd while addressing students of Ndejje SSS, Luwero as part of the ongoing voter education outreach program in primary, secondary schools and institutions of higher learning to sensitize the pupils and students on elections in order to enhance their participation.

According to Byabakama, in January next year, the EC will carry out a general update of the Voters Register countrywide to enable those eligible to register as voters.

“I encourage all of you who are above 18 years to get registered as voters. Go and tell everyone who is above 18 years that they have a right to be registered as a voter,” Justice Byabakama guided the over 2500 students, staff and parents of Ndejje SSS.

He said the process is even easier for those who have already registered with the National Identification & Registration Authority (NIRA) and have got National Identification Numbers (NIN), revealing that it is just a matter of updating their details in the system to automatically become citizens and as well registered voters.

Justice Byabakama who witnessed the swearing in and handover of student’s leaders said the EC cherishes engaging the youth and  underscored the need to harness their energy, vibrancy, enthusiasm, creativity, and innovativeness as partners in quest for stability and social transformation of the country.

“We want to build bridges with all stratas of this country and the EC can’t succeed alone in pursuit to have a prosperous, progressive, secure and a stable Uganda. The conversation starts now and the youth are partners and part of this story,” he said while emphasising the importance of youth participation in Uganda’s affairs and recognizing the demographic majority that young people represent in the country.

He tipped young people to be patriotic, shunning violence during electoral processes, add value to their beautiful country Uganda and honour god by shunning violence, voter bribery, early sex, and alcoholism and drug abuse.

“Instability is a terrible thing. I don’t want this country to go into another episode of instability. God forbid! Today, we have a crop of over 2000 students of Ndejje SSS who are saying NO to instability.”

The EC chair also identified some of the challenges young people face which can be exploited by self-seekers to drive them into violence. They include lack of proper parenting, sexual and physical abuse, unemployment and overwhelming peer pressure driven by current trends.

“Be focused, committed and don’t lose sight. Don’t deviate from your goal’s pursuit. Don’t be drawn in by those deviations…You have energy, resilience, versatility, self drive, self motivation, ambition. Don’t be flat, emotionless and directionless. Have a vibe in you,” Byabakama counseled and went on to encourage the students to be masters of their own destiny.

Aware of the adverse climate change effects, the EC chair urged preservation of the environment.

“We should not litter our country with plastics. We should preserve our resources for future generations. Let’s plant trees and I appreciate the school for this initiative.”

The newly elected students’ leaders were advised to be exemplary, serve with integrity, be humble, be ready to sacrifice, promote team work, protect vulnerable students from bullies, be focused, dedicated, objective, parochial, make proper decisions, be good listeners, communicate effectively, responsible, assertive, creative and accountable for their actions at all times.

David Ssenkungu Balaba, the school Headmaster, commended EC for civic education programs in schools which inculcate the spirit of patriotism at an early stage.

He advised the incoming students’ leaders not to lose focus of their destination in the course of their leadership duties which sometimes require sacrifice.

“Do not lose yourself. Leadership should not affect academic performance. We shall give you all the necessary support,” he stressed.

Rev.Moses Ssenyonyi, the patron of students’ leaders hailed the EC for positively responding to their call for collaboration. He also thanked the EC staff for being courteous at all levels of engagement.

EC OUTREACH PROGRAMS

In accordance with Article 61, (g) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as amended, the EC is mandated to formulate and implement voter educational programs relating to elections.

In conducting its work, the Commission is guided by its vision “To be a Model Institution and Centre of Excellence in Election Management” and mission “To efficiently organize, conduct and supervise regular free, fair and transparent Elections and Referenda to enhance Democracy and Good Governance.”

 The specific objectives of the voter education outreach program in primary schools, secondary schools and institutions of higher learning include; i) equipping pupils and students with electoral information in order to enhance their participation in elections; ii) sensitizing pupils and students about their rights and responsibilities in the electoral process and iii) enhancing understanding of the electoral process and laws governing elections.

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