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No constitutional reforms until after 2011, says govt

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th December 2009 03:00 AM

OPPOSITION leaders have called for constitutional amendments to provide for electoral reforms if the 2011 elections are to be credible.

OPPOSITION leaders have called for constitutional amendments to provide for electoral reforms if the 2011 elections are to be credible.

By Josephine Maseruka

OPPOSITION leaders have called for constitutional amendments to provide for electoral reforms if the 2011 elections are to be credible.

However, the justice state minister, Frederick Ruhindi, said: “There is no need to mince words because there won’t be any constitutional amendments until after the 2011 elections.”

The remarks were made yesterday at a heated discussion at the launch of the first Uganda Governance Forum at Hotel Africana in Kampala. The event was organised by the Electoral Commission, UNDP and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

The meeting attracted members from different political parties, MPs, the Judiciary, religious leaders, and civil society organisations.

Kassiano Wadri (FDC), the opposition chief whip, argued that as long as those in power keep manipulating laws to suit their interests, Ugandans cannot benefit. He said the opposition had expressed concern about the 2006 Supreme Court ruling that found the Electoral Commission incompetent yet the same team had been re-appointed.

Wadri amused the participants when he asked: “How will your civic education make voters bullet-proof when the elections have been militarised? How will such sensitisation cure the incumbents from abusing electoral laws?”

Alice Alaso (FDC) said constitutional amendments were needed on the composition and tenure of the Electoral Commission.

Ruhindi said whereas he supported changes to the laws, he was opposed to the constitutional amendment on the composition of the Electoral Commission and the manner in which it is appointed.

Launching the forum, the deputy Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, cautioned the public against blaming the Electoral Commission for irregularities without considering other sectors which fail to fulfil their mandate, like enacting relevant laws in time and providing adequate funding.

The Electoral Commission boss, Badru Kiggundu, who faced a barrage of questions, said free and fair elections require a comprehensive legal framework.

Bishop Dr. Zac Niringiye, the chairman of the APRM governing council, said the forum will establish a governance think-tank where experts and parishioners will provide input to the plan of action.

No constitutional reforms until after 2011, says govt

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