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Speaker, Mao call for democratic reforms

By Moses Mulondo

Added 18th September 2016 03:17 PM

The speaker said the ideas and proposals that would come out of the conference would cause a change in the institutions of democracy in the country.

Speaker, Mao call for democratic reforms

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The speaker said the ideas and proposals that would come out of the conference would cause a change in the institutions of democracy in the country.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and the Democratic Party president Norbert Mao have called for democratic reforms in the country.

"I am happy that as parliament of Uganda we are fulfilling one of the UN requirements of evaluating the state of our democracy. Democracy and development are linked. We need strong democracy for a strong legislature," said Kadaga while opening a conference on the commemoration of the international democracy day in Kampala.

The speaker said the ideas and proposals that would come out of the conference would cause a change in the institutions of democracy in the country.

The DP president Norbert Mao, who was one of the discussants, presented a set of proposals for improving the institutions of democracy which among others included the need to address political patronage at all levels.

"Patronage is the biggest problem we have in Uganda and it is at all levels practiced by all people who occupy powerful offices. You have seen Bishops and Imams being given envelopes and cars. Patronage is in both the NRM and the opposition. A political party leader can wake up one day and say you are no longer Leader of Opposition," Mao argued.

The DP leader stressed the need to address the issue of nepotism/tribalism which he said has bedeviled the country since independence.

"There was a time when Acholis were saying it is us who matter. It is now a common practice in Uganda that when a person is occupying an office, the other powerful people in the same office also from the same area. When you go to State House, you say, ‘this does not look like Uganda. I don't what is in the office of the Speaker and I don't know what is in the office of the Leader of Opposition," Mao stated.

Pointing out the national army and police which he said are preoccupation with serving the interests of the president, the former presidential candidate noted that the country lacks strong institutions that can guarantee democracy.

"In Uganda's history, we have never had a peaceful change of power. We have never had a trans-regime army. Every regime goes with its army. That must stop. We need to build a national army that is detached from the leaders in power," he explained.

Others problems Mao said need to be addressed are violence, fusing the ruling party with the state, corruption, and commercialization of politics.

He appealed to parliament to convene a national dialogue involving all stakeholders to discuss the various measures that need to be undertaken for the country to have sound and credible democracy.

Dr. Suzie Nassozi Muwanga, the head of Makerere University's political science department, called for constitutional reforms which would guarantee independence of various state institutions and credible elections which are free and fair.

Muwanga also pointed out over commercialization of politics and failure of the legislators to base their legislation on the views of the people they represent as some of the hindrances to the growth of democracy in the country.

Rosa Malongo, the UNDP resident representative, urged parliament to hold the executive accountable and to truly be the voice of voiceless.

She wondered whether the exorbitant cost of democracy reflected in the commercialization of politics could enable the country achieve its development targets.

Although an NRM member, Kuumi County Charles Llukor commended Mao for the proposals he gave and suggested that they should be adopted for the democratization of the country.

 

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