22 January 2013

Uganda: Rugunda Welcomes Electoral Reforms Ahead of 2016 Polls

ICT Minister and chairperson National Consultative Forum (NCF), Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, has extolled efforts aimed at introducing electoral reforms ahead of 2016 polls as "a viable tool" to ensure that the Electoral Commission presides over "credible, transparent and acceptable elections."

Presiding over the opening of a five-day retreat of representatives of the 38 political parties and other key stakeholders at Imperial Golf View Hotel - Entebbe Tuesday, Rugunda rooted for transparency of the electoral process to defuse what he called "unnecessary uncertainty and suspicion" during election cycles.

The retreat is also tailored to producing an acceptable draft of a code of conduct for political parties and a blue print to govern inter-party interactions under the NCF framework.

"Electoral reforms are tailored to the common good of Ugandans and this will show that the EC is ready to conduct transparent, credible and acceptable elections," Rugunda said.

UNDP country representative, Lebogang Motlana dubbed conducting credible elections a vital cog in ensuring stability which is vital for economic transformation.

"These are essential tenets for a stable democracy and prosperity. There is no country that has achieved prosperity without stability," Motlan said in reference to the mooted code of conduct for political parties and electoral reforms.

Since the return to multiparty dispensation in 2006, opposition political parties have voiced their disquiet about an uneven 'political playing field' during elections, citing the composition of the EC that is wholly appointed by the president as proof of the electoral body's inability to conduct credible elections.

Opposition parties have also clamored for streamlining of the role of security forces in the electoral process, to avoid what they deem as undue influence of the process in the ruling party's favor.

All these issues will be discussed as the ruling party and opposition parties try their hands on electoral reform - an issue that has propped up at every election cycle.

The retreat is being help under the auspices of the UNDP and is being graced by EC boss Dr. Badru Kiggundu and Deputy Attorney General, Fred Ruhindi.

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