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Politicians Raise Red Flag on Incorporation of Civil Society in Elections Review Process

Joseph Kasirye, the Masaka Municipality Democratic Party-DP Organizing Secretary, says he is afraid that once appointed to a government-initiated committee, Civil society organizations will be compromised and eventually lose the impartiality with which they are perceived to execute their duties.

Audio 6

The proposal by government to appoint civil society leaders onto the Electoral Reforms Committee has generated mixed feelings among politicians in Masaka district. 

Government through the Electoral Commission Amendment Bill, 2019, which is before parliament proposes to establish a special committee to conduct reviews in the election processes across the country. 

The bill proposes that the reforms committee is constituted by the Electoral Commission within six months after the date of the general election. The committee will be expected to make recommendations to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister eighteen months after being constituted.  

  

According to the proposal, the committee will comprise of four representatives from the Electoral Commission, three representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, Secretary to the Law Reforms Commission, a political party and Civil Society representative among others.

However, the leaders of opposition political parties in Masaka are opposed to the inclusion of civil society organizations on the committee, arguing that this could be an attempt to muzzle their voices against irregularities committed by government bodies. 

Joseph Kasirye, the Masaka Municipality Democratic Party-DP Organizing Secretary, says he is afraid that once appointed to a government-initiated committee, Civil society organizations will be compromised and eventually lose the impartiality with which they are perceived to execute their duties.

He insists that the civil society organisations should be left to operate independent platforms through, which the local people can freely express their views and reservations about government’s undertakings including the electoral process.  

 

//Cue in: “that is another way…..

Cue out: ……society anymore.”// 

 

Luganda          

//Cue in; civil society buli…..        

Cue out; …….zandibadde zivaayo.”// 

Among the responsibilities of the proposed review committee as outlined in clause (2) of the bill will be to; synthesize various reforms proposed by political parties, election observers and monitors, and other relevant stakeholders or arising from court decisions, which will later be submitted as recommendations to the Justice Minister.  

Kasirye on the other hand challenges the unfair representation of political parties, which he describes as key stakeholders in the election process. Clause 1 (d) of the bill proposes that political parties and organizations will be represented by one person nominated by the National Consultative Forum.  

     

//Cue in: “we need a manageable…..    

Cue out: …….and be vetted.”//

Luganda       

 

//Cue in; “Akalala National…..        

Cue out; …….ku composition eyo.”// 

Joseph Ssenzoga, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC General Secretary for Greater Masaka propose the extension of time within, which the Electoral Commission can declare election results to allow all parties time to verify the declaration forms thoroughly.    

//Cue in: “We must put…..  

Cue out; ……the right figures.”//    

Luganda          

//Cue in: “wewunye nti ……      

Cue out; ……ku declaration papers.”//    

Jacob Oboth Oboth, the Chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, says the committee is going to invite other stakeholders including political parties to give their views on the bills before parliament upon completion of the public consultations.