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UNAA PETITION | STATEMENT FROM THE UNAA BOT NULLIFYING THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED 2017 UNAA ELECTIONS

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Posted November 3, 2017 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in UNAA ELECTIONS 2017 ~ 602 views

     

UNAABOT 2015-2018

Date: Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

From: Dr. Joseph Buwembo (UNAABOT Chair 2015-2018)

To: All UNAA Members

Re: STATEMENT FROM THE UNAA BOARD OF TRUSTEES REGARDING THE RECENTLY

CONCLUDED 2017 UNAA ELECTIONS

Dear UNAA Members,

The UNAA Board of Trustees (herein “UNAABOT”), would like to thank all of you who participated in our recently concluded 29th Annual UNAA Convention and Trade Expo held at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami, Florida.

One of the highlights was of course the bi-annual elections for the various UNAA leadership positions. Following the election, Dr. Kawuma, who lost the presidential race, filed a petition to the UNAA Electoral Commission (herein “UNAAEC”) questioning the validity of the voter register used in the elections and requested submission of proof of payment for all the persons that voted. The UNAAEC deliberated on the petition and was not able to resolve the matter and referred to the UNAABOT.

What follows below is a chronology of events the UNAABOT has uncovered and relied upon to arbitrate as follows;

  1. The voter registration period for the 2017 UNAA General election ended on August 1st 2017 in accordance with the published electoral guidelines and UNAA Constitution and Bylaws.
  2. On or about August 1st, 2017, the UNAAEC Secretary, Dr. Peter Simbi (herein “EC Secretary”) requested Mr. Peter E. Mukunya, the UNAA Executive Secretary (herein “Executive Secretary”) and copied Mr. Arthur Nantamu, the UNAA Treasurer (herein “Treasurer”) to provide the UNAA Electoral Commission (herein “UNAAEC”) with – quote – “a current list of UNAA members in good standing (UNAA Current Constitution 3.1 and 3.5).” Further the request clarified that the “They would like to receive it by Thursday, August 3rd, 2017. The list should include the following member information: full name, email address, physical (residential) address, phone number and current membership payment receipt number.”
  3. On or about August 6th, 2017, the Executive Secretary inquired from the UNAABOT for guidance on interpretation of articles 3.1 and 3.5 of the UNAA Constitution, to which the Dr. Joseph Buwembo, the UNAABOT Chair on August 7th, 2017, in an email response provided the following interpretation: “Our fiscal year begins October 1st to September 30th. So members who have paid and or renewed their membership during the period October 1st, 2015 to August 4th, 2017 are eligible to vote. 3.3.1: Membership dues paid in a current fiscal year shall be valid for membership for the following fiscal year.”
  4. On or about August 7th, 2017, the Executive Secretary responded to EC Secretary via email with the subject “list of UNAA members” quote – “… please find attached the membership list as guided by the BOT chair. I am running all the receipts that have the address and that will be sent your way as soon as possible.” This list contained 834 names including “associate members, double entries, and other clerical errors. In addition, it did not include most of the requested for information like email addresses, physical (residential) addresses, phone numbers and current membership payment receipt numbers.
  5. According to the UNAA Constitution and Bylaws, the UNAAEC has the responsibility of using this list to produce the UNAA 2017 voters register. To produce the voter register, the UNAAEC followed eligibility guidelines to remove Associate members, minors and correct clerical errors like duplicate names to arrive at a list containing about 781 names, and yet this was not enough to create a voter register as it lacked the requested-for information such as, email addresses, physical (residential) addresses, phone numbers and current membership payment receipt numbers.
  6. On or about August 20th 2017 The UNAAEC contacted the Treasurer asking for verification of payments and for email addresses, physical (residential) addresses, phone numbers and current membership payment receipt numbers since the Executive Secretary was lacking this information that was necessary to generate a voters list.

UGANDA NORTH AMERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES

(UNAABOT 2015-2018)

7. On or about August 22nd, 2017, according to his email in response to the UNAAEC, the Treasurer could verify only 424 members as having satisfied the requirements of being members in good standing because they had paid their membership dues by the close of August 1st,2017. This list contained the required information like email addresses, physical (residential) addresses, phone numbers and current membership payment receipt numbers necessary to generate a voter register.

  1. On August 29th 2017, the Treasurer, Mr. Arthur Nantamu sent an email to the UNAABOT and UNAAEC bringing it to their attention that some of the names contained in the Members List previously submitted on August 7th 2017 by the Executive Secretary did not have corresponding proof of payment of the required membership fees.
  2. The difference between 781 (the number of members submitted by the UNAA Secretary) and 424 (the number of members with verified proof of membership fee payments) was an outstanding 357 unverified persons who had been directly and manually entered into UNAA’s QuickBooks financial system and issued with Quickbook receipts by the UNAA Director of Finance (herein “Director of Finance”), Mr. Michael S. Kimbugwe in a 5-day period between July 25th and July 31st 2017, thereby, completely by-passing UNAA’s online registration system, MemberClicks and Moolah Credit card payment processor.
  3. Todate, there is no proof of corresponding deposits of funds in any of UNAA’s Bank accounts or financial systems of the adduced membership fees from many of the 357 unverified members. The Membership Fee for new members is $50 per person and $20 per person for a renewing member. Since the 357 unverified persons were mostly new members, the fees due, and which remain unaccounted for, amount to a total of almost $17,650.
  4. Between mid-2012 and the first half of 2017, 96% of all new and renewing memberships were paid and processed online by the respective individual members. In contrast, the members list provided by the Executive Secretary to the UNAAEC shows that in June and July 2017 alone 48% of all UNAA’s membership registrations were done offline.
  5. On August 30th 2017, during an emergency UNAA Leadership meeting the Mr. Michael Kimbugwe was presented with these findings. He was not able to provide any explanation and on September 1st, 2017, Mr. Michael Kimbugwe resigned as UNAA Director of Finance. Mr. Michael Kimbugwe also withdrew his candidacy for UNAA Treasurer. On the same date, the UNAABOT accepted his resignation from office and the UNAAEC accepted his withdrawal as a candidate for UNAA Treasurer.
  6. Without the mandate or access to UNAA Financial Systems records, the UNAAEC was not able to independently verify which of the two lists – one from the Executive Secretary and one from the UNAA Treasurer represented an accurate record of UNAA Members. UNAA EC resolved to use both lists to limit the risk of disenfranchising any bona-fide members.
  7. In a letter dated September 4th, 2017, Dr. Daniel B. Kawuma (herein “the Petitioner”), submitted a petition questioning the validity of the voting process in the Miami 2017 UNAA Elections. The Petitioner, a candidate for the UNAA President’s position was concerned that the circumstances surrounding the 09/02/2017 resignation of Mr. Michael Kimbugwe – hitherto Director of Finance – had ensured the existence of voters who were not verified UNAA members in good standing and thus, not eligible to vote. The petitioner put the UNAA Electoral Commission to task to demonstrate who voted, whether all the voters were verified as currently paid up UNAA members, and any other actions conducted by the EC to ensure that the elections were free and fair.
  8. On September 12th 2017, the UNAA Electoral Commission referred the matter to the UNAABOT for arbitration and final resolution pursuant to Article 9.9 of the UNAA Constitution (as amended on September 3rd 2017).
  9. Out of the 358 Members who cast their vote on September 3rd, 2017, 110 were unverified persons, i.e. persons whose proof of membership payment remains unavailable to date. The Executive Secretary was asked to provide proof of payment upon which he relied to include the members on the list he submitted to the UNAA Electoral Commission, and he has been unable to provide any.
  10. Furthermore, about 16 members were allowed to vote without appearing on either list summited by the UNAA Treasurer or UNAA Secretary. According to the UNAAEC, these individuals presented receipts showing proof of payment. The UNAAEC did not make copies of these receipts, or ask for copies to be emailed to them.
  11. During the course of our investigations, some UNAA-affiliated members of general public who had been included on the voter register have made submissions to the UNAABOT denying ever paying for UNAA membership.
  12. The UNAABOT, has exercised utmost due diligence in the course of our investigations. The UNAABOT conducted inquiries, and fact-finding endeavors to ensure that this matter is thoroughly and objectively investigated. Accordingly, we conducted our investigations using methods, including but not limited to:
  13. Directly calling some unverified voters for those whose phone numbers we were able to obtain; II. Accessing UNAA Bank records for forensic financial verifications; III. Contacting all/most concerned parties to demonstrate or explain certain information; IV. Receiving and analyzing both culpatory and disculpatory evidence and/or information;

UGANDA NORTH AMERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES

(UNAABOT 2015-2018)

20. On Sunday, October 29th 2017; at 7:00pm EST; the UNAABOT held a joint leadership meeting with the UNAA Executive Committee, UNAA Council, and UNAA Electoral Commission where the UNAABOT presented the above findings and they were discussed.

UNAABOT ARBITRATION and RESOLUTION:

Pursuant to investigations conducted by the UNAABOT which have brought to light the evidence presented above, and empowered by articles 5.2 (a), (b), (c), (d), (e); 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, and 9.9 of the UNAA Constitution and Bylaws; the UNAA Board of Trustees by a UNANIMOUS vote find the UNAA Miami 2017 Election NOT to have been conducted in accordance with UNAA’s constitution and therefore NOT Free and Fair.

As the arbitrating body, the UNAABOT thus resolves to RECALL the 2017 UNAA elections results for the contested positions of UNAA President and UNAA Council for South Pacific II.

We further arbitrate the petition and matters arising as follows:

  1. Previously declared winners for the two contested seats must cease carrying out UNAA duties and responsibilities and representing UNAA in any official capacity effective immediately.
  1. As provided for in the UNAA Constitution and bylaws, the UNAA Vice President, Mr. John Julius Muwulya will be the

Acting UNAA President on an interim basis until new elections are carried out. Should he be unable to carry out these duties; the UNAA Executive Secretary will act in this capacity, and if he is also unable to do so, the UNAA Treasurer will act as UNAA President in the interim. The acting UNAA President will be assisted by the UNAA BOT and any other persons the UNAABOT may appoint.

  1. The repeat election will be carried out no more than 45 days of the date of this communication and only those members in good standing as of August 1st, 2017 will be eligible to vote. The voting will be carried out electronically.

Respectfully,

Dr. Joseph Buwembo Chair, UNAABOT 2015-2018. Long Live UNAA!

Cc: All UNAA Members

UGANDA NORTH AMERICAN ASSOCIATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES

(UNAABOT 2015-2018)


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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