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Trade Unions, EC duel over representation in parliament

By Cecilia Okoth

Added 1st March 2016 11:51 AM

We shall be left with no alternative but to call for countrywide industrial action until our rights are respected - NOTU

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Usher Wilson Owere addresses the press. NOTU wants the Electoral Commission to release the road map to the workers’ representative in parliament. February 28, 2016 By Norman Katende

National Trade Union leaders under the two national centres have expressed displeasure over the manner in which the Electoral Commission (EC) has failed to carry out their elections in parliament and have threatened to call for industrial action.

The leaders under their umbrellas include, National Organisation of Trade Unions, Central Organisations of Free Trade Unions in Uganda and the Independent Unions.

Workers representatives are part of the five special groups in parliament as provided for under Article 78 subsection 1 clause c of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda.

Other groups include women representatives, persons with disabilities, youth and the army.
            
"We are concerned that the EC has up to now not come up with a clear road map for the elections of workers' representatives in Parliament despite the constitutional timeframe provided for under Article 61 subsection 2 to conduct this election is running out," said Usher Wilson Owere, the Chairman General, NOTU.

  he workers activists   sher ilson were athias ulumba and  oses aukhu address the  press  hey want lectoral commission to release  the  road map to the workers representative in parliament ebruary 28 2016 y orman atende The workers activists Usher Wilson Owere, Mathias Mulumba and Moses Maukhu address the press. They want Electoral commission to release the road map to the workers’ representative in parliament. February 28, 2016 By Norman Katende

          
Owere, who was addressing journalists at Fairway Hotel on Sunday, said despite having less than 10 days for the Commission to perform this constitutional duty, it (EC) has no definite road map to conduct this election as provided for in the constitution.

"We shall be left with no alternative but to call for countrywide industrial action until our rights are respected," he said.
            
EC is the body governed to hold presidential, parliamentary and Local Government council elections within the first 30 days of the last ninety days before the expiration of the term of the President. This time frame however, elapses on 12 March.
            
"This state of affairs, also threatening to violate the constitution is causing unrest and anxiety among the workers fraternity. EC should appoint definite dates for the election of workers representatives to parliament and local council leaders within three days from today," Owere emphasised.

  he workers activists   sher ilson were athias ulumba and  oses aukhu address the  press  hey want lectoral commission to release  the  road map to the workers representative in parliament ebruary 28 2016 y orman atende The workers activists Usher Wilson Owere, Mathias Mulumba and Moses Maukhu address the press. They want Electoral commission to release the road map to the workers’ representative in parliament. February 28, 2016 By Norman Katende

 

           
He urged parliament and the executive not to allow EC violate the Constitution and disenfranchise workers of their rights to be represented under their watch.

            
Mathias Mulumba of the Civil Society Organisation Workers Union said workers elections involve several parties, saying they have to traverse through the whole country in search for representatives.
            
"This is a matter that shouldn't have arisen. We asked EC to set a date and they made promises they did not fulfill," Mulumba said.
            
Robert Wanzuzi the General Secretary, National Union of Infrastructural Civil Works and Wood Workers said failure to conduct workers elections means they will not be represented in the 10th parliament.

"The EC is not doing us a favour. We are meant to be in parliament to stand for the rights of workers."

EC speaks out
            
When contacted, Jotham Taremwa, the commission's spokesperson said EC had a series of meetings with the trade union members mainly on their membership and had asked them to work out a comprehensive register of their voters.
            
"They were the ones who were pushing for more time, saying they were not prepared," Taremwa said. He added that upon presenting their voter register, EC will sit down and come up with a suitable date for elections.

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