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UJCC Against Deployment of Army During Elections

The Executive Secretary of Uganda Joint Christian Council -UJCC, Fr. Constantine Mbonabingi says the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces should not be deployed during elections to demilitarise the process.
03 Oct 2019 20:22
Oboth asks UJCC on why it fears UPDF deployment in the electoral process

Audio 5

The Uganda Joint Christian Council-UJCC has said that the army should not be deployed during the elections.

The Executive Secretary of Uganda Joint Christian Council -UJCC, Fr. Constantine Mbonabingi says that much as security is key during elections, UJCC observes that there is "over deployment of security personnel especially the army.

Fr. Mbonabingi made the remarks on Thursday while presenting UJCC's views on the five electoral reform Bills before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

The committee is currently scrutinizing the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill, Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill, Local Governments Amendment Bill, Electoral Commission Amendment Bill and Political Parties and Organisations Amendment Bill that were tabled by the Attorney General in July this year.

Fr. Mbonabingi noted that over militarization of the electoral process intimidates voters. 

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He also says the Council opposes the provision for special procedure for voting of persons in restricted areas in the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill.

Fr. Mbonabingi explained that although the provision seeks to address disenfranchisement of some voters including UPDF soldiers, "determining an area as restricted in terms of security is open to abuse. 

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The Chairperson of the legal committee, Jacob Oboth wondered why the council fears the deployment of the UPDF.

He also noted that the UJCC should consider government's proposal that some categories such as UPDF, electoral Commission Officials among others in restricted areas should be allowed to vote.

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Representing the Anglican Church, Rev, Alex Abraham Bwambale explained that based on previous elections, it has been observed that military deployment scares away voters from polling stations and other activities such as attending campaign rallies.

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Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu agreed with Bwambale and UJCC on its proposal. He cited the 2006 parliamentary election in his constituency where there was heavy military deployment, which he says was aimed at intimidating his supporters because he was an opposition candidate.

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Fr. Mbonabingi also asked the committee that presidential election results should be announced at the district level before being transmitted to the national tally centre. He also said that during the tallying at the district and national tally centres, agents and election observers must have access to the computers and other instruments being used by the election officers to tally results.

Fr. Mbonabingi told the committee that the proposal that churches should not hold fundraising ceremonies during the campaign period, could be considered by the Council of Bishops.

He was responding to an appeal made by Kitagwenda County MP, Agaba Abas and  Karenga Woman MP, Rose  Lilly Akello appealed to UJCC to consider banning fundraising ceremonies during the campaign period to curb monetisation of politics.