Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has announced that the process to institute electoral reforms has began with the consideration of recommendations from all stake holders.
He said this during the 24th meeting of the National Consultation Forum for political parties and organisations at a hotel in Kampala.
“In front of us we have constitutional and political reforms that are envisaged which we discussed in the last five years but because of time constraint the government could not go through the requisite legislative process”, Dr. Ruhana Rukunda said.
He added that government will soon be establishing the consitutional review commission and national consultative forum.
” And as expected, we ‘ll play a very important role in the affairs to help the constitutional review commission to help the country ensure that this exercise goes on smoothly”, he said.
Dr. Rugunda also advised the newly appointed chairman of the Electoral Commission Justice Simon Byabakama to ensure independence and transparency in the commission’s duties.
IPOD Chairman Engineer Omar Kalinge Nyago said the selection and tenure of office of members of the Electoral Commission requires review by Parliament.
“The number of Commissioners should increase from seven to nine but their term of office should be restricted to seven non-renewable years in order to minimize the possibility of compromise in anticipation of re-appointment,” he said.
The proposals tabled by IPOD include empowering the Constituency to serve as the basic electoral unit; requiring the Electoral Commission to formulate voter education programmes jointly with political parties; and waiving the requirement for civil servants to resign before being nominated.
IPOD also proposes a ban on election of special interest groups like the Army, Youth and Workers to Parliament; re-instatement of Presidential term limits and the introduction of proportional representation as an electoral system for Uganda.
Nyago re-emphasized the need for amendments to the legal regime to empower a Court convicting a candidate of voter bribery to bar that candidate from standing for elective public office for a period of five years.
Meanwhile the National Consultative Forum for Political Parties and Organizations has also proposed to Parliament to consider several electoral reforms including the registration and voting for Ugandans living in the diaspora