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“This is an illegal move to overthrow the supreme law of the land,” he stated.
Batanyenda, who is also the ambassador Uganda National NGO Forum for Citizens Manifesto in the Kigezi region, said that the new proposed bill by the National Resistance Movement MPs to shift the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections from 2016 to 2021 is unconstitutional and MPs too are aiming at prolonging their stay in power.
He noted that Article (77) clause (3) of the Ugandan constitution states that the term of Parliament shall be five years from the date of itssitting after a general election.
“I see no existence of the state of emergency with which would prevent normal general elections from being held. Even if it was there, it would not exceed the 90 days as shown in the constitution.”
He added: “Article 110 clauses (2) of the constitution also elaborate that the state of emergency declared by the President shall remain in existence for not more than 90 days and shall then expire.”
Presidential Advisor in charge of Research, Morrison Rwakakamba has since said reports in the wider media that some MPs are working on a Bill to extend 2016 elections are just a “joke.”
In the new Bill titled, ‘Presidential, Parliamentary and LC extension Bill 2014,’ some NRM legislators in support of postponement of the election claim that the country needs enough time and resources to be able to blend in the freshly introduced electoral reforms, for a free and fair election.
Government and the Electoral Commission have vehemently refuted knowledge of this proposal.
Rwakakamba argues that MPs behind the postponement of the election exercise could be interested in prolonging their stay in power in fear of being kicked out of Parliament by their constituents.
“The attrition rate (a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength) for MPs in Uganda is around 60 percent. This means only, around 40 percent come back to the House every election circle. It is therefore most likely that MPs proposing this move and those supporting them are seriously unpopular and feel their only hope to stay in parliament is by pushing elections beyond 2016,” says Rwakakamba.
“At Presidential level, we haven’t had this sort of attrition. I can therefore put it bare that President Museveni can’t be behind such move. He is not scared of elections and he abhors schemes that are aimed at disenfranchising Ugandans.”
However, the outspoken Kitanga parish priest said that, however, the government has denied any knowledge of the new proposed bill, its aware that the bill is in process and will be passed once it is tabled in Parliament since the ruling NRM legislators in Parliament are the majority.
He noted that those framing the new bill are claiming that since the national identity cards are currently underway, then election process will take a lot of money which the government cannot afford all together.
“How did they know that the government has no money such that they postpone the elections?” Batanyenda charged.
He noted that this is because of fear and panicking at the possibility of losing of the next general election because of failure to account to theirelectorates of what they have achieved during their 28 years in power.
“Since Uganda’s elections have turned commercial, they want to use the money the government could have incurred during the elections and they divide it amongst themselves such that by election time, they have enough money for rigging votes,” he said.
He said that the MPs should first seek consent from Ugandans before deciding to shift the elections.
Fr. Batanyenda, however, urged Ugandans to join hands like they did during the signing of Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law and defend theconstitution by denouncing the shifting of the 2016 elections to 2021.
“Ugandans must join hands to save Uganda from slipping back to a history of tyranny.”
Museveni, Mbabazi Rift
Fr. Gaetano also rubbished the current move by the government to have all local council chairpersons open up bank accounts countrywidesaying, that it is political and aimed at bribing them.
He noted that the move comes after President Museveni was informed that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, as the NRM Secretary-General, had penetrated all the party structures including the local council chairmen and were all supporting him.
“The move is aimed at depositing money on their bank accounts as a bribe so that in the next general elections, they back Mr. Museveni.”
“The government is well aware that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi had used his power as the party Secretary General to penetrate the systemand now they want to use this chance to bribe the local council leaders in support of President Museveni.”
The government is currently engaged in a countrywide registration of all the local council leaders, advising them to open up bank accounts where the government will deposit money to help during the population census exercise as well as facilitation in the distribution of national identity cards in their areas, according to reports.
When asked about the fruits of his activism, Batanyenda said that President Museveni should give him a gift because of talking on behalf of the local person.
“The President should give me a gift for speaking for those who are not able to speak because anything that goes contrary to the constitution and the local person, I’m always at the forefront.”