Politics

Opposition: Museveni Cooking Surprise Package on Electoral Reforms

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patient http://clbattery.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-plugin-install-list-table.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The scheme, they argue, is currently at cabinet level and is being fuelled by the Inter-party organization for dialogue (IPOD).

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They say the massive package is likely to be unveiled by the president during the looming State of the Nation address.

IPOD is an informal forum where all political parties represented in parliament including the NRM convene regularly.

Museveni’s simmering plot, the opposition claim, entails ‘hoodwinking’ Ugandans as presenting a new set of electoral reforms, to overhaul the current electoral system.

“The purpose of this gimmick is to give Ugandans the appearance of change, while in reality preserving the fundamentals of the current fraudulent system. Ugandans must be aware,” revealed UPC president, Olara Otunnu this morning.

Otunnu said while addressing press at FDC headquarters in Najjanakumbi, that Museveni was also planning to tell Ugandans that, even all the opposition political parties (CP, DP, FDC, UPC and Jeema) had already contributed their ideas and inputs in his new package through IPOD.

“This is not true. Our unified proposals on the new electoral reforms are the only proposals we have put together and are contained in three principle documents we have published about the campaign,” he said.


President Museveni recently said apart from the computerisation of the voters’ register, all the needed reforms had been implemented by government.


He also rubbished allegations that the EC should be disbanded, saying opposition usually engage in sectarianism and intimidation of the public and other acts such as ballot stuffing to rig elections.


Otunnu’s comments could be aimed at pre-empting Museveni’s speech on electoral reforms.


There has been mounting pressure from civil society groups and donors for government to implement the reforms.


“We want to be clear that our parties have not submitted to parliament or government, any separate proposals, through IPOD,” said Otunnu.


He pointed out that discussion of this package has already been ongoing in a cabinet subcommittee and that provided any opportunity President Museveni might officially unveil it during the coming State of the Nation Address this week.


Otunnu went on to note that following NRM’s humiliation in the recently concluded Luweero by-elections, Museveni would base on his subsequent remarks that the poll was rigged by the opposition with help from the EC, to justify his new package.


Below is a slightly detailed version of the proposed electoral reforms currently being preached by the opposition across the country in a campaign termed as ‘Free and Fair Elections now”.


That a new Electoral Commission be established and a complete overhaul and review of existing technical staff returning and presiding officers be undertaken.


The new EC is to be selected by a body called the National Consultation comprising of all stakeholders, following a process of open application, public hearings and scrutiny.


New EC should compile a new, clean and verifiable voters’ register which should include eligible Ugandans in the Diaspora.


It must be done in a transparent and accurate manner, and not based on the ongoing National Identity card project.


It should be accessible to all as a public document that can be inspected at no cost. The military should have no involvement whatsoever in the electoral process. Ensuring law and order during elections shall exclusively be the responsibility of the Uganda Police Force under supervision of the EC.


Police and military should vote in regular polling stations, and must not bear arms or wear uniforms during the process.


A mechanism must be established to monitor and prevent raids of funds from the Central Bank, ministries and international assistance accounts during the elections.


An office of the Controller of Budget be established to keep tabs on money trails and prevent diversion of funds from treasury to partisan political works. All administrative units i.e. districts, counties, and sub-counties should be frozen at the level of the 2011 elections.


The responsibility of creating more electoral constituencies should be left to the EC. The president should stop abusing the constitution by arrogating to himself the authority to create constituencies. Public Order Management Act curtails freedom of expression, association and movement; on which free and fair elections are hinged, hence it should be repealed. The Police Amendment Act (2006) should also be amended and brought in full conformity with the Bill of Rights under Chapter 4 of the Constitution.


Selection of presiding officers should be approved by political parties through a meritocratic and transparent process. One to qualify must not have been a party executive, never have run for a political office on a party ticket in the last 5 years, or convicted of electoral crime or misconduct.


The processing of electoral materials including design, printing and distribution of all materials should always ensure participation, scrutiny and observation of key stakeholders, particularly political parties, civil society, election observers and the media.


Votes must be counted and announced at polling stations in the presence of political parties, civil society and public.


Media must be given certified tabulation and tally sheets and permitted to report in real time, votes counted and winners announced at polling stations, certified by the presiding officers or polling assistants.


Presidential and Parliamentary results must be declared at the constituency.


Establish a special tribunal to adjudicated presidential election disputes, whose members should be selected from the ranks of serving and retired judges and eminent jurists from within and outside Uganda.

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