THE Commonwealth Secretary General, Don McKinnon, has called for transparency in the ongoing debate on the political transition to multipartyism, including the proposed amendment of the Constitution to lift presidential term limits.
Addressing journalists at the Sheraton Hotel yesterday, Mckinnon also said Uganda must show that it can host the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) Meeting in 2007.
McKinnon said at least 25 million British Pounds (sh82.5b) was required to host the summit, half of which must cater for security of the leaders.
â€œOn the issue of two terms, I am well aware that this is a very live debate around this time. I had a discussion with President Museveni about this issue before. He knows our general view. When addressing issues like these, they should be very transparent,â€ said McKinnon who ended his three African-nation tour yesterday.
Museveniâ€™s two-five-year terms end in May next year, but there is a Cabinet proposal to scrap the term limits.
McKinnon said it was important that Ugandans were educated and understood the issues being taken to Parliament by way of Bills and others to be decided in the referendum.
On Ugandaâ€™s preparedness to host the summit, he said, â€œLeaders made the decision in Abuja that Uganda would host the CHOGM after Malta. So it is really up to Uganda to continue to meet that commitment. If Uganda changes its mind, that is another issue, that is up to Uganda.â€
Meeting Museveni at State House Nakasero, Mckinnon said there were positive indicators that Uganda would be able to host the summit. Museveni said the country had â€œthe desire and is committed to host the meetingâ€ and was on course.
Museveni cited Ugandaâ€™s excellent record in keeping security, adding that the country had single-handedly confronted and defeated terrorism.
Mckinnon told journalists that he had not seen the facilities, the proposed sites and details about Ugandaâ€™s preparedness since last year. â€œI am leaving two of my officials behind, Neu Haus and Kibazo. They are going to be looking at everything and I will know what the concerns are.â€
CHOGMs are usually attended by one third of the world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II, the head of the Commonwealth. Proposed venues are the Nile International Conference Centre now under renovation, the Speke Resort Munyonyo, and the Imperial Resort Beach in Entebbe.
He said although the 2007 CHOGM was two and a half years away, the Government needed to be aware of its demands.
â€œThe Malta CHOGM will determine the finer details in planning for the 2007 CHOGM in Uganda,â€ he said.
McKinnon said, â€œThe Commonwealth countries have long said they would like to see a multiparty system functioning in Uganda. This is happening now. There is a very big challenge within us. I donâ€™t believe you can underestimate the amount of work required to develop party political structures now.â€
Commonwealth wants openness