28 May 2001

Uganda: Kasujja Calls for Prompt Legislation

The Electoral Commission (EC) has advised Parliament to enact electoral laws in time to enable proper planning budgeting, timely procurement and implementation of electoral activities.

This recommendation is contained in the report on the Referendum 2000 on political systems in Uganda. In the foreword to the report published last week, EC chairman, Aziz Kasujja, stated that the original programme for the implementation of the referendum was to run for nine months with effect from October 1999.

However, the late enactment of the enabling laws left six months for execution of the numerous tasks such as civic education, updating the voters' register, distribution of election materials and training of election officials, which greatly affected effective and efficient implementation.

Despite all the shortcomings and challenges faced at various stages of the referendum, it is gratifying to note that the commission was able to conduct the referendum within the stipulated period and in accordance with the law," the report states.

The referendum exercise was implemented using several legislations, of which only three were in place. The rest of the enabling laws were belated and legislated at different stages during the referendum process, causing time constraint, the report said.

The referendum was held on June 29, 2000 and the Movement political system won with 4,322,901 votes, representing 90.7% of the total votes, compared to 442,823 (9.3) in favour of the multiparty political system.

Although the EC had requested Parliament to authorise payment of Shs 18.57bn to run the whole exercise, the electoral body received Shs 13.33bn, including a supplementary of Shs 600m. This was about 30% short of the budgeted figure.

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