By Moses Mulondo
Government is working on constitutional and electoral reforms to improve the country’s electoral democracy, the state minister for constitutional affairs and deputy attorney general, Fred Ruhindi, has said.
Ruhindi made the disclosure in a meeting with a delegation of MPs and civil society leaders who presented two Bills to be incorporated in the reforms Cabinet is working on.
Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), a consortium of 800 civil society groups, in conjunction with three MPs the Bubulo East MP Simon Mulongo (NRM), Serere woman MP Alice Alaso (FDC) and Kibanda County MP Sam Otada (independent), jointly drafted the Bills.
Without getting into the details, Ruhindi said some of the reforms government is drafting were proposed in the National Consultative Forum (NCF), which is a consortium for all registered parties in the country.
NCF is chaired by NRM’s Ruhakana Ruganda deputized by FDC’s Augustine Ruzindana.
Allaying the fears of those who think government is not committed to reforms, the minister said government is this time determined to undertake several reforms.
“In 2005, there are some amendments we deferred. These proposals are timely. Some of them are similar to the ones cabinet is handling,” he explained.
Ruhindi said a special Cabinet committee chaired by the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has been instituted to work with legal experts to draft the Bills for amendments.
He said if government tables the Bills in parliament when some of their proposals are left out, they will still have the opportunity to submit the proposals to the legal and parliamentary affairs committee which will be refining the Bills.
Presenting the Constitution Amendment Bill 2014, Simon Mulongo said the Bill intends to give powers to the Judicial Service Commission to appoint EC commissioners with the participation of political parties, the civil society and the general public.
It also suggests other measures to safeguard the independence and impartiality of the EC as well as proposing to change the name of the commission to Independent Electoral Commission.