9 January 2013

Uganda: UPC Rejects Opposition Coalition

Opposition party, Uganda People's Congress (UPC) has rejected the proposed opposition coalition ahead of the 2016 general elections, saying it will be useless if electoral reforms are not in place.

Party vice president, Joseph Bbosa, on Wednesday told a news conference in Kampala that the opposition will never get into power if the current Electoral Commission is not reconstituted.

"We cannot be part of any coalition with the current EC leadership in place. That is why we pulled out from the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) in 2011, after failing to agree with other parties on the matter and we also saw the results," he said.

Bbosa's remarks follow a call by the Democratic Party president, Norbert Mao to other opposition parties to form a coalition ahead of the 2016 general elections. Mao also called for a national dialogue involving all political players to discuss the problems facing the country and way forward.

Bbosa said UPC is ready to work with all democracy seeking organizations irrespective of their political ideologies to push for a transparent democratic system of governance before 2016 general elections.

He noted that unless the electoral reforms are implemented, UPC will not take part in 2016 polls.

They want all political parties in parliament to be represented at the EC, since it is central in holding free and fair elections. They also want a replacement of the EC chairperson and other top commissioners.

Bbosa said like in other countries the chairperson should be of high moral character and qualified to be a High Court judge.

He said before they go for any kind of alliance, the country needs to first hold a national dialogue involving all stakeholders to address the common political barriers and advocate for the necessary electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections.

He said before the opposition resolves to participate in the coming elections, they must make sure that a new EC is in place.

Bbosa also noted that differences among the opposition political parties have also failed their efforts to get into power. He added that many parties have internal conflicts which they need to solve before going into a coalition.

"Selfishness is still a big problem that we need to handle at various levels. We need to develop a culture of fighting for a common good not selfish interest. We all have the same goal of pushing for a better democratic system," he said.

He said UPC will not just cooperate for the sake but for a purpose and principle.

Commenting about the Anti-Corruption Bill (Amendment) Bill 2012, Bbosa said its enactment is long overdue, but was skeptical whether it would be implemented.

"Corruption today is not due to lack of laws but due to lack of political will. This law will give powers to confiscate the property of defendants and persons that have been convicted to recover the lost public funds. But we doubt whether it will work if there is no good political will," he noted.

Copyright © 2013 New Vision. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.