The Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, has defended the current status quo of President Yoweri Museveni appointing the chairman and commissioners of the Electoral Commission
By Moses Mulondo
The Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, has defended the current status quo of President Yoweri Museveni appointing the chairman and commissioners of the Electoral Commission.
In an interface with journalists today at Imperial Royale Hotel after a National Consultative Forum on the 2016 roadmap, Rugunda said, “It is perfectly in order for the President to appoint the EC because he is the chief administrator of the country. After all, the names he proposes are presented to parliament for approval. In my view, it makes sense.”
He was responding to the concern from the opposition and the civil society that the core reforms they had proposed like reconstituting the EC to guarantee free and fair elections had been left out.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill which government presented to parliament last month only provides for changing the name of the EC to the Independent Electoral Commission without changing the way it is constituted.
The opposition and Civil Society argue that an EC that is appointed by the President who also acts as the presidential candidate for the ruling NRM party compromises the independence of the commission.
“The proposals government has presented are nothing. They cannot create a credible electoral process. It is only the name of the Electoral Commission that is changing without changing the way it is constituted,” said DP Secretary General Mathias Nsubuga.
Peoples Development Party (PDP) president Dr. Abed Bwanika said, “In the proposals government has brought, there is nothing that will change the current status quo. That is why they have taken long to bring the proposals because they did have will to create a credible electoral process.”
Rugunda advised those who are dissatisfied to present their views to the legal and parliamentary affairs committee for consideration.
“It is not yet late to consider other proposals. The doors are not yet closed. The doors are open. This can be done both in the parliament legal committee and the parliament plenary,” Rugunda argued.
During a national dialogue last year in November at Hotel Africana which NRM shunned, the opposition, religious leaders, and the civil society agreed on a set of constitutional and electoral reforms which parliament should pass to guarantee free and fair elections
The proposals include the need for an independent electoral commission agreed upon by all stakeholders, the need for a new verifiable and clean voters’ register, removal of the military from the electoral process, and establishing measures for preventing raids for funds from state coffers.
They also want all involve all stakeholders in the selection of presiding officers, involving all stakeholders in the procurement, designing, printing and distribution of electoral materials, restoration of presidential term limits and introducing term limits for MPs representing special interest groups, and removal of army and workers’ MPs.
Rugunda defends appointment of EC