The Chairperson Board of Directors for Bugisu Cooperative Union Nandala Mafabi has petitioned the High Court in Kampala to quash the election of Johnas Tweyambe as the Chairman Elect of Uganda Cooperative Alliance Limited-UCA.
UCA is an umbrella organization for all cooperatives in Uganda established in 1961 and it serves as the voice of the cooperative movement both nationally and internationally.
In its just concluded Annual General Meeting, Tweyambe was declared the Chairperson Elect by the Registrar of Cooperatives with 40 votes against Mafabi’s 35 votes in a process that the petitioners say contravened the by-laws that govern their elections.
According to Mafabi, UCA gave a notice of the AGM in which elections of its Chairman was an item on the agenda which he expressed interest and in preparation for the contest and to ensure that all the procedures followed by the electoral college, he requested for the register of the electors from the Registrar of Cooperatives.
However, he was reportedly told to request it from the UCA which informed him that the Board Chaired by Tweyambe had prohibited the circulation of the register.
Mafabi adds that at that time, he was not aware that Tweyambe who was then the incumbent Chairperson of the board had also expressed interest of retaining the seat in the election. Mafabi argues that after the elections, he was given a handwritten register prepared on the morning of the elections after the arrival of delegates.
“A member raised the issue of who was entitled to vote and insisted each delegate produces a certificate as required by the rules to ensure authorized persons participate in elections. The Annual General Meeting did not elect a search committee but instead a report said to be from a vetting committee was presented,” reads Mafabi’s affidavit.
Adding “the report did not provide for the elected committee to elect the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasurer.
Mafabi further states that he raised his hand to object to the procedure followed by the Registrar and he did not appear to notice him and only called out names of member unions and a person would present himself as representing the union, receive a ballot paper and cast his vote.
“Thereafter, each of the other candidates were either voted upon or declared unopposed by the Annual General Meeting,” adds Mafabi application.
One or the qualifications for election of a Chairperson is that the Candidate must belong to a Committee of a member or a union. However, the evidence before court shows that Tweyambe doesn’t belong to any of the two.
Mafabi now through his lawyers of Victoria Advocates and Legal Consultants says he is aggrieved by the election process that ignored their bylaws and therefore he wants an order quashing the decision to declare Tweyambe as the Chairman Elect and direct the respondents to conduct elections in accordance with them by laws.
ACA, Commissioner/Registrar Cooperatives and Tweyambe are jointly sued by Bugisu Cooperative Union and Mafabi as the only respondents to this case which is yet to be fixed for hearing.
In 2021, the Constitutional Court nullified a section under the Cooperative Societies Act that was giving the Registrar powers to cancel the registration of a society if not satisfied with its performance.URN