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3rd term, parties vote on same day

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd April 2004 03:00 AM

CABINET has decided that the proposed referenda on the political system and presidential term limit be held on the same day, information minister Dr. Nsaba Buturo said yesterday.

CABINET has decided that the proposed referenda on the political system and presidential term limit be held on the same day, information minister Dr. Nsaba Buturo said yesterday.

By Hamis Kaheru

CABINET has decided that the proposed referenda on the political system and presidential term limit be held on the same day, information minister Dr. Nsaba Buturo said yesterday.

“The two referenda will be held on the same day but there are two questions which will be put to the public,” Buturo told the weekly government press briefing at his offices in Nakasero, Kampala.

In one question, voters will be asked whether they want the country to continue being governed under the Movement system or to return to multi-party politics.

The second question will be on whether Article 105(2) of the Constitution should be repealed to remove the two-term limit for the presidency and allow continuous eligibility, popularly known as the third-term.

Buturo’s remarks mean that Cabinet accepted justice and constitutional affairs minister Janat Mukwaya’s recommendation on the referenda.

Mukwaya said on March 8 that she had recommended to the Government that the two referenda be held on the same day.

“The sh29b (cost of referendum) people are talking about is not for every issue that is to be decided through a referendum.

It is possible to have a multiplicity of elections on the same day using the same resources and the same personnel,” Mukwaya said on phone.

She said under a joint referendum, voters would be required to tick different ballot papers and cast them in separate boxes.

“It is a matter of having one box for the referendum under Article 74 (change of political systems), another box for Article 105 (third-term) and another box for any other issue,” she said.

“If a group of people can handle a referendum
on one issue the same people can be used to manage another issue.

We can have three or four elections on the same day and use the same resources,” she said.

Buturo said the question of funding the referenda was settled and that the exercise would take place by February next year.

“The funds will be there. We have found them,” he said. When asked about the source of the funds the minister said, “from your taxes.”

Finance state minister Mwesigwa Rukutana last week said his ministry had allocated sh30b in the 2004/05 budget for the proposed referendum.

Article 74 of the Constitution says the political system can be changed either through a referendum or through a resolution of Parliament upon a petition of district councils.

Cabinet proposed to the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) headed by Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa, that a multi-party political system be adopted through a referendum under Article 74(1).

However, CRC rejected the proposal and recommended that the change to multipartyism be effected through a resolution of Parliament under Article 74(2).

The CRC argued that the referendum was an unnecessary costly exercise because the leadership, which would have been on the forefront of championing the Movement System, had already opted for a change to multipartyism.

This means the outcome of the referendum on political systems is obvious since nobody would campaign against the proposed change to multiparty politics.

“Since there might not exist any effective groups to canvass the question, the costly exercise of a referendum should be avoided,” the CRC report says.

Article 74(3) of the Constitution says the referendum on political systems shall be held in the fourth year of the term of Parliament.

This means that the referendum can be held any time between July 2004 and June 2005.

3rd term, parties vote on same day

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