23 February 2013

Uganda: Opposition Pushes for Reforms Before 2016 Polls

The Opposition shadow cabinet will sit in two weeks-time to discuss reforms in the electoral process.

Shadow Attorney General Abdu Katuntu said after the proposed amendments were approved by the shadow cabinet, he would table the Bill before Parliament.

He said the proposed reforms include the constitution of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the appointment of its chairperson and commissioners.

He added that whether minister appointed by the President should continue holding offices as MPs, would also feature in the reforms.

Saturday Vision learnt that some of the reforms the Opposition plans to table were agreed upon by the Inter-Party's Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) in 2009.

The 2009 IPOD meeting was mainly attended by the secretary generals of the parties which had representatives in Parliament.

"Our position as UPC on electoral reforms is the one we had during the IPOD meeting," said Joseph Bbosa, the vice-president of Uganda People's Congress (UPC).

The push for electoral reforms comes as the EC drafts the 2016 general election roadmap. EC spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa said the roadmap would be out soon.

Democratic Party (DP) spokesperson Kenneth Paul Kakande said his party wants a retired judge to head EC.

Kakande added that the reforms should allow each political party with representatives in Parliament to be represented on the electoral body.

Currently, the President appoints the chairperson and commissioners of the electoral body, who are then approved by Parliament.

Kakande said DP is talking to other opposition parties to come up with a common position on the proposed electoral reforms.

In a separate interview, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafire, said the Government is ready to embrace some of the proposed reforms.

"It is in our interest as Government and that of the society to organise fair and transparent elections," he said.

The FDC national vice-chairperson Salam Musumba, said the amendments to the electoral laws must be tabled and discussed by Parliament this session.

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