“We want to demystify the fear associated with lining up. Of course, it is not true that it (lining up) will cause conflict..."
Electoral Commission spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa. File
ELECTIONS| LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Electoral Commission (EC) says it will launch a countrywide sensitization campaign to popularize LCI and II elections ahead of the November 11 polls.
Jotham Taremwa, EC’s head of public relations, said the campaign will start in the coming weeks, with the commission targeting voters through radio, TV and newspaper messages.
“We want to demystify the fear associated with lining up. Of course, it is not true that it (lining up) will cause conflict, but this is what has been projected out there,” he said.
Taremwa noted that the sensitization will breathe life in the polls, which he said, has been undermined by ‘lies’ of civil society organisations and ‘some opposition groups’.
Opponents of lining say it is an outdated mode of holding elections in the 21st century and has a potential to divide communities. However government says it is the most transparent mode of conducting elections and will eliminate commercialization, which has bedeviled previous polls.
Lining up was widely used during the Resistance Council (RC) elections in the late 1980s and it was also applied successfully in 1993 and in 1998 in Local Council 1 and 2 elections.
However, critics say a lot has changed in the country, which could undermine proper applicability of lining up. Analysts point to the fact that Uganda has changed from Movement (one party state) to multipartsim. This, they say, has heightened competition between individuals along party lines, which is a recipe for chaos if a voter’s preference is publically expressed.
Civil societies under their umbrella Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (Ccedu) told New Vision that they have finalized a constitutional petition challenging the law which okays lining up.
“We hope to argue the Act (Local Governments Amendment Act 2015) is unconstitutional as it is inconsistent with agreeable standards of conducting elections. Among others, we also hope to argue it has a potential to fuel conflict and that it is unfair for people to be compelled to make public their choice of person they wish to vote,” said Dr. Livingstone Ssewanyana, the Ccedu chairman.
He said they are not hopeful their petition will stop the November elections, but hope the outcome of the court will help Ugandans going into subsequent elections.