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Approach of Parliamentary Consultations on Electoral Reforms Disputed in Masaka

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Agnes Namusiitwa, one of the regional coordinators of the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy-CEDDU in Masaka, says the committee hardly interfaced with 50 people in Masaka.
Joseph Ssenzoga, FDC Regional Secretary Masaka, disputes mode of Consultation by Legal Parliamentary Committee

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The mode of the public consultations by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on the proposed Electoral Reforms has stirred controversy in Masaka sub region.  

 

On Friday last week, members of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee led by their vice Chairperson, Sam Bitangaro held a regional consultative meeting on the proposed Electoral Reforms at Masaka district council hall.  

The committee was seeking public views on the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, the Political Parties and Organization (Amendment) Bill and the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill. 

However, civil society activists and political party leaders in Greater Masaka region are disputing the mode of the consultations, arguing that it couldn’t sufficiently capture people’s views.

Agnes Namusiitwa, one of the regional coordinators of the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy-CEDDU in Masaka, says the committee hardly interfaced with 50 people in Masaka.

 

She also takes issues with the composition of the participants, who she says majorly comprised Masaka district councilors who didn’t make a fair representation of the electorates in the area. 

According to Namusiitwa, the committee failed to effectively mobilize the electorates to take part in the consultation process, which casts doubt to the intentions of the committee 

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Joseph Ssenzoga, the Masaka Regional Secretary for the opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party also faults the committee for not interfacing with a wider spectrum of stakeholders, which directly limited the views gathered.  

He argues that despite the significance of the proposed reforms towards the democratic political dispensation in the country, the committee omitted key stakeholders in leadership positions in political parties, something that raises suspicions about their report.

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Suleiman Ssenyonjo, the spokesperson of the umbrella Coalition of Civil Society Organizations dealing in Human Rights Protection proposes that given the significance of the election process to the country, parliament should adopt the approach of open consultations through public rallies in constituencies to allow exhaustive participation of all people in the process towards having fair elections.

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The MPs who conducted consultations in Masaka region included Medard Lubega Ssegona, Busiro East, Charles Mugoya, Bukooli Constituency and Jovah Kamateeka, Mitooma Woman Member of parliament.

 

Mugoya says the committee has also acknowledged the lapse, saying they are still in talks with the Speaker of Parliament to allocate them resources to enable them solicit for views from individual constituencies. 

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