More than 140 aspiring candidates have applied for a change in names to correspond with their academic papers ahead of the 2021 elections.
Among those rushing to realign their names are; Kyadondo East MP also president of National Unity Platform (NUP), Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, Gen Mugisha Muntu, the Alliance for National Transformation’s (ANT) president general and former security minister Gen Henry Tumukunde according to volume 58 of the Uganda gazette published October 2, 2020.
Others changing their names according to the gazette are; Idah Nantaba, the Kayunga Woman MP, Kassanda County MP Patrick Nsamba Oshabe, and Masindi Woman MP Jalia Bintu.
Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine is realigning his name from Kyagulanyi Ssentamu R, Kyagulanyi Robert Sentamu, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi and Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Roberts to Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert. Muntu, who has been using the name Mugisha Greggson and Mugisha Gregory Muntu Oyera has now started a process of realigning his name to Mugisha Muntu Gregg to match his academic transcripts.
Tumukunde meanwhile, seeks to add Kakurugu to his name to read Henry Tumukunde Kakurugu from Tumukunde Henry BK, and Henry Brian Kakurugu, among others. This follows an announcement by the Electoral Commission that aspirants with different names other than those in their academic documents will not be nominated.
The decision stems from a 2017 court ruling in which Taban Amin’s victory as Kibanda North MP was annulled on grounds over varying names from Taban Amin Tampo Jegejege, Taban Amin Tampo as indicated in the national voters’ register and ID to Taban Idi Amin on the nomination form and academic documents, and Idi Taban Amin as indicated in his passport.
Although parliament is trying to amend the Registration of Persons Act to resolve this, the deputy attorney general Jackson Kafuuzi said the amendment is specifically for married women whose names changed after marriage, when they abandoned their maiden name.
Muntu says he started the name change process two weeks ago and hopes that it will all be finished by next week. He says that as a young man in earlier days, he called himself Gregg from the full name Gregory because it was then fashionable at the time and that is what is in his academic transcripts, but he says he later decided to use Gregory, which however would make him a different person from his academic record.
He says he has now undertaken a deed poll which is a legal deed made to formalize a change of a person’s name. He says he had to go back to the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) for the second time since NIRA didn’t allow the use of initials like M for Muntu.
Muntu adds that although he has done it, he thinks the court ruling and decision on candidates who change names is not right since it presupposes that one person is not the other without adequate verification. He says what mattered most was if someone could swear an affidavit.
As of now, after processing and filing documents from NIRA, one has to post legal notices in newspapers to announce the name change upon acceptance of the application by the commissioner of oaths. The registrar upon being satisfied that the requirements have been met then amends the register accordingly.