By Moses Mulondo
A survey has established that majority Ugandans support the various constitutional reforms like the restoration of presidential term limits, an independent electoral commission, and ending the commercialization of politics.
The survey, whose results were released on Friday at Serena Hotel, was carried out by the International Republican Institute from 4th to 23rd of December 2014.
The survey, which involved 2402 Ugandans from the various sub regions of the country, established that 65% of Ugandans want the presidential term limits to be restored and 30% said there should be no constitutional limit on how long the president serves.
Regarding the constitutional age limit for a presidential candidate not to be beyond 75 years, 66% of the respondents said it should be maintained. 30% said there should be no limit on the age of the president.
Concerning the proposal to change the constitution to a system where the party with majority seats forms government, 67% preferred the current presidential system of voting for a president who forms government.
On the commercialization of politics, 73% of the respondents want usage of money in exchange for votes or to influence an election to be considered wrong and heavily punishable.
Asked whether Uganda is headed in the right direction, 69% said yes, 29% said it isn't going in the right direction and 3% said they don’t know.
On the direction the country is taking, 80% said President Museveni is responsible, 67% said it is government, 45% said it is the people of Uganda, 20% said it is the NRM, 7% attributed it to the military, 6% said international organizations, and 5% attributed it to the church.
About the Electoral Commission, 64% said the President should not appoint the members of the commission and 23% said the president should continue appointing them as provided in the constitution and 7% said they don’t know.
It also established that 45% of respondents want the Vice President to be voted by Ugandans and 52% want the president to continue appointing the Vice President.
Asked to assess government’s performance in fighting corruption, 69% said government is doing badly in the area.
On whether the NRM had fulfilled the campaign promises for the 2011 elections, 5% said it has fulfilled few, 15% said none has been fulfilled, 18% said most of them have been fulfilled, 2% said all the promises have been fulfilled, and 6% said they did not know.
Asked which party could have done better than NRM, 12% said FDC, 3% said UPC, 2% said DP, 0.1% said CP and 1% another.
On how much they trust institutions and various leaders, 70% said they trust religious leaders, 57% said the army, 51% said President Museveni, 49% said community leaders, 23% said police, 20% said parliament, 20% said the Electoral Commission, and those who trust courts of law were only 15%.
Regarding the most important problems facing the country which government should address, majority mentioned unemployment, infrastructure, poverty, water supply, corruption, availability of healthcare, agriculture, electricity, crime and security, democracy/political rights, inequality/discrimination, food shortage, low wages/salaries, homeless children, ethnic tensions, political instability, and HIV/AIDS.
On whether any other party could have done better in addressing the above problems, 60% said no, 17% said yes, and 21% said they don’t know.
Asked how they would rate the freeness and fairness of the 2011 general elections, 41% said they were completely free and fair, 25% said they were free and fair with minor problems, 11% said they were free and fair but with major problems, 10% said they were free and fair and 12% said they don’t know.
75% of the respondents said they want special interest MPs like the army MPs, women MPs, and youth MPs, and MPs for the disabled to be maintained. 74% want municipal mayors to continue to be directly elected by voters and 16% wanted the mayors to be appointed by the national government.
Many participants at the launch of the report faulted those who conducted the survey for not limiting the survey to educated people since many of the questions were of technical nature.
UFA president Beti Kamya said, “There are some answers which make me wonder whether the results are reliable. In 2011 57% of eligible voters voted and this survey states 87% are likely to vote in 2016 yet voter apathy is so high. More people have lost faith in the electoral process.”
Henry Kasacha from IPOD said, “The conclusion of the survey is that Uganda is on the right direction yet the findings on the various aspects show the opposite.”
DP secretary general Mathias Nsubuga said, “The country cannot be headed on the right direction when the judiciary is not independent, the level of corruption is so high, the electoral process is not credible and people’s rights are violated.”
The report was presented by Prof. Robert Mattes of the University of Cape Town, who designed the survey questions.
IRI country director Lara Petricevic said, “We hope the results will be useful in addressing the needs and interests of Ugandans ahead of the 2016 elections.”
Majority of Ugandans want electoral reforms, survey