Richard Ssewakiryanga, the Executive Director NGO forum, says the proposals are misguided since they target independent candidates, pressure groups and voting by security forces but leave out the recommendations by the Supreme Court.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Forum has asked Government to use the
existing time to present the electoral reforms as recommended by the Supreme Court.
The NGO forum was commenting on the Electoral Reforms tabled by
Government before parliament.
On Thursday, Government tabled five electoral reform bills
including; the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill No.17, 2019, the
Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill No.18, 2019, Electoral Commission
(Amendment) Bill No. 19, 2019, the Political Parties and Organization
(Amendment) Bill No. 20, 2019 and the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill No.21,
The bills according to the Butambala MP, Muwanga Kivumbi seek
to introduce stringent proposals especially curtailing independent candidates
and party defections. He also says the
bills also propose that members of security forces vote earlier so they can
freely safeguard the elections. The bills also reportedly seek to stop
political parties from associating with pressure groups among others.
Now, Richard Ssewakiryanga, the Executive Director NGO
forum, says the proposals are misguided since they target independent
candidates, pressure groups and voting by security forces but leave out the
recommendations by the Supreme Court.
Some of the recommendations by the Supreme Court include regulation
of public servants from meddling in politics, election financing and donations
According to Ssewakiryanga, Uganda’s electoral
process has been marred with violence, vote rigging and numerous electoral petitions
He asks government to also include the electoral reforms
proposed by other players like civil society organisations through the citizens
compact that were generated following countrywide consultations.
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He says the electoral reforms tabled by government are not
only dangerous to Ugandans but politicians and Government as well.
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Patricia Munabi, the Executive Director Forum for Women in
Democracy, says the proposed reforms presented by Government are cosmetic and
will only impede democracy. She says the major proposals in the citizens
compact for free and fair elections such high nomination fees and violence
against women haven’t come through.
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In 2016, Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Bart
Katureebe while delivering their judgment in the Amama Mbabazi Versus Museveni
and 2 Others Presidential Election Petition, made pronouncements about
outstanding electoral reforms that are meant to guarantee free and fair
They included extending the filing and determination period
of presidential election petitions to 60 days to enable the concerned parties
and court to adequately prepare and present their case, regulation of public
officials in elections and punishment of media houses, which refuse to grant
equal airtime to all presidential candidates and prohibition of donations
during elections among others.