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Cabinet agrees to ease party restrictions

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th November 2000 03:00 AM

THE Cabinet has agreed to relax some restrictions on political parties, justice and constitutional affairs minister Mayanja Nkangi told the Parliamentary Movement Caucus meeting on Wednesday night.

THE Cabinet has agreed to relax some restrictions on political parties, justice and constitutional affairs minister Mayanja Nkangi told the Parliamentary Movement Caucus meeting on Wednesday night. Felix Osike reports that he meeting between President Museveni and the MPs took place at the International Conference Centre and lasted about three hours. Sources said Nkangi briefed the caucus on the Government position on the Political Organisations Bill, which provides for the functioning and financing of political organisations. Political party activities have been restricted since 1986. "He gave us the Cabinet position but we asked him to prepare a position paper, which will be discussed next Monday," said a source who attended the meeting. The restrictions to be lifted include opening of national branches, holding of delegate's conferences, national executive committee meetings and seminars. If the proposals are adopted, parties would be free to raise funds but not from anti-State organisations. They would also be allowed to support candidates on individual merit. Parties would also be allowed to run newspapers and operate radio stations for their campaigns. However, Nkangi said parties are still barred from holding public rallies and opening branches at lower levels. The Cabinet also wants parties to be prohibited from using party colours or their insignia. The MPs did not reach a consensus on the lifting of the restrictions. Movement Caucus chairman Prof. Gilbert Bukenya said recently that political parties should be allowed to operate at national and district levels. Multipartysts dismissed his view. Article 269 of the 1995 Constitution prohibits political parties from opening and operating branches, holding delegates conferences, holding public rallies, sponsoring candidates and carrying on activities that may interfere with the Movement Political system. Nkangi was advised to write a position paper to be discussed on Monday. MPs are said to have said parties should be allowed to operate freely. Maj. John Kazoora (Kashari) asked Museveni how candidates would stand on individual merit after being sponsored by their organisations. Museveni said during the 1996 presidential elections the parties supported one candidate Dr. Paul Semogerere on individual merit. He reportedly said parties had no programmes and ideologies to present to the people at village level. Museveni said the organs of the Movement would begin consultations with the population on the way forward after elections next year. Ends.

Cabinet agrees to ease party restrictions

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