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European Union Piles Pressure on Museveni Over Electoral Reforms

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Uganda delegation team led by President Museveni and the EU Heads of Mission pose for a group photo at the conclusion of the Article 8 Political Dialogue (State House Photo)

The European Union has asked President Museveni to support the swift implementation of proposed electoral reforms for the Uganda to realise free and fair elections in future.

This was during discussion hosted by President Museveni at State House Entebbe late last week.

Officials who attended the meeting described it as “rich, constructive and wide-ranging.”

The EU confirmed in a statement issued this week that the electoral reforms were high on the agenda.

“The EU appealed to Uganda to rapidly proceed with electoral reforms that do not require constitutional amendments,” reads part of the statement seen by ChimpReports.

“The EU also welcomed Uganda’s commitment to table a ‘Transitional Justice Policy’ before Cabinet.’”

The opposition and civil society have for several years urged government to consider electoral reforms.

In its ruling on the 2016 presidential election petition, Supreme Court judges said some of the reforms proposed by academics and civil society should be considered.

“The main thrust of these Reports must be seen to be directed at the need for structural and legal reforms that would create a more conducive atmosphere that would produce genuinely free and fair elections,” the Supreme Court ruling reads in part.

“Suffice to say at this point that it is high time that the Executive and the Legislature started seriously to think about the crucial need to address legal reforms in our electoral laws,” the highest court in the land ruled.

Some of the proposed reforms include overhauling the Electoral Commission to ensure independence and impartiality; reforming the demarcation of electoral boundaries; and ensuring recruitment of Polling officials is done in a transparently, competitively and based on merit.

The civil society also wants an independent judiciary to adjudicate on electoral disputes impartially.

The president’s response during the meeting with EU diplomats was not made clear to us.

The EU Delegation was led by the former European Union Ambassador to Uganda, Ambassador Kristian Schmidt.

The Delegation comprised of the Heads of Mission of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The dialogue also discussed other areas of mutual interest including jobs, trade and investments, business opportunities, democracy and human rights, regional political and security issues among others.

Overall, the EU remains Uganda’s main exporting market with a share of 26 percent of total exports.

In 2015, Uganda registered for the first time since 2005 a positive trade balance with the EU of Euro 2 million.

The EU has been importing from Uganda proportionally more than exporting to Uganda since the last three years.

The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2014-2020 provides €578 million for this period to help Uganda to respond to the country’s needs and aspirations.

Through the EDF, the EU is providing Uganda support in the form of non-repayable grants for the following three thematic areas: Good Governance, Transport Infrastructure, Food Security and Agriculture.


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