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Violence Shouldn’t Define 2021 Elections –MPs

MPs from across the political divide asked the government to ensure that all rights should continue to be protected even when the country embarks on the democratic process. Their remarks come after the conclusion of the National Resistance Movement-NRM party primaries which were marred with violence, rigging and other irregularities.
17 Sep 2020 07:27
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga. Photo by Parliament of Uganda.

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Members of Parliament have demanded that the government treats all Ugandans equally regardless of their political opinions.

On Wednesday, MPs from across the political divide asked the government to ensure that all rights should continue to be protected even when the country embarks on the democratic process. Their remarks come after the conclusion of the National Resistance Movement-NRM party primaries which were marred with violence, rigging and other irregularities.

This followed a motion moved by Busiki County MP Paul Akamba for a resolution of Parliament on the commemoration of the International Day of Democracy marked annually on September 15. The day was established through a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, encouraging governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy. This year’s theme is “Covid-19: A Spotlight on Democracy”.

In his motion, Akamba asked that government re-affirms its commitment to observing democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution and international legal instruments, even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Akamba, however, said that human rights and other democratic principles should not be under looked.

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The Shadow Attorney-General Wilfred Niwagaba supported the motion saying that it has come at the appropriate time since Uganda is gearing for an election amidst a pandemic. Niwagaba noted that different guidelines set out by the government to stop the spread of coronavirus were, unfortunately, being implemented in a biased manner.  

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Mitooma Woman MP Jovah Kamateeka said that the just-concluded NRM party primaries should be an opportunity for the government to carry out voter education. She added that underage children were seen lining up to vote. The Constitution allows only adults above 18 years to elect national leaders.

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Busia Municipality MP Geoffrey Macho said that Ugandans should be allowed to openly express themselves as they prepare for the elections. He added that the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should not be used to block dissenting views. He also said that there should be equal participation of all political organizations in the country.

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Butebo Woman MP Agnes Ameede also said that violence should not define Uganda’s democracy ahead of the 2021 elections.

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Parliament passed the motion and the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed that it should be extracted together with a copy of the Hansard for transmission to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) headquarters in Geneva.      

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