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‘President Must Keep Off Elections’

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th September 2002 03:00 AM

THE President, government and the Movement Secretariat should desist from interfering in all elections, the parliamentary probe committee on election violence, has said.

THE President, government and the Movement Secretariat should desist from interfering in all elections, the parliamentary probe committee on election violence, has said.

By Joyce Namutebi
and Hamis Kaheru

THE President, government and the Movement Secretariat should desist from interfering in all elections, the parliamentary probe committee on election violence, has said.

“They should specifically not choose which candidates to stand, to sponsor and should not decampaign any candidate,” the 15-man committee recommended in its 355-page report.

The report, presented by committee chairman Augustine Nshimye (Mityana South) to the House yesterday, will be debated tomorrow.

The committee said the individual merit system used in elections was open to abuse.

“The fact that the chairman of the Movement, the National Political Commissar and Movement directors and other senior officers at the Movement are free to contest elections with others enhances the temptation for these well-placed senior Movement leaders to use the Movement structures in a sectarian manner against their opponents,” the report added.

The committee said in cases where the incumbent president intends to contest again, he or she should hand over to the next in hierarchy before being declared a candidate.

It called for strengthening of the laws to prevent the incumbent president from gaining unfair advantage by using the state machinery.

Parliament set up the committee on February 20, 2002, to inquire into the causes of election violence, mismanagement of the electoral process and allegations of financial impropriety in the Electoral Commission.

It was also mandated to examine the suitability and adequacy of laws governing elections and the role of the armed forces and other security organs in the conduct of elections, among others.

The legislators called for the removal of the Secretary to the Election Commission, Sam Rwakoojo, saying he did not have the relevant qualifications and was appointed contrary to the Electoral Commission Act and the Public Service guidelines and procedures.

They said the post should be re-advertised.

The report said the army, which came second to candidates among perpetrators of election violence, should not get involved in the electoral process.

It said the Police should be the only security organisation to keep law and order during elections.

It said members of the army and other security organs who wish to compete for political offices other than that of the president alongside civilians should take leave and upon being elected should resign forthwith.
Ends

‘President Must Keep Off Elections’

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