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
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
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
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.