Led by the Party President Jimmy Akena, officials from UPC this afternoon appeared before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee that is collecting views on five electoral reform Bills tabled before parliament by Attorney General William Byaruhanga.
Appearing on Wednesday before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee that is currently collecting views on different electoral reforms proposed by government, FDC Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi said that the government proposals were silent on the issue of ferrying voters which is a form of bribery.
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has proposed punishment of electoral officials found culpable of committing electoral offenses saying that it is through such actions that tax payers have been left paying the price through repeated by-elections.
The Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu said the government proposal sought to keep members enslaved to their political parties, arguing that processes of recruitment and membership should be a matter solely for political parties and not the law.
The Committee Chairperson Markson Jacob Oboth-Oboth made the directive on Tuesday during an interface with Mwesigwa who appeared alongside Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Gen. Kahinda Otafire to justify five electoral reform Bills recently tabled before parliament.
The Committee Chairperson, Jacob Oboth Oboth, says they will use two days to scrutinize the bill and approve their work plan before they set off for consultations. He explains that contrary to earlier practices where they start from the boardrooms in Parliament with technocrats, they will start with regional consultations.
When a bill is tabled for first reading, MPs are provided copies for easy reference. It is also a culture for the bills tabled before Parliament to be forwarded to the Parliament Library and also uploaded on the Parliament website. However, this was not the case for the tabled reforms.
According to the proposed electoral reforms tabled by the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga before parliament on Thursday afternoon, one must have left their political party for a year before nomination to run as an independent candidate.
The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga tabled the bills for the first reading before parliament chaired by the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday afternoon. Kadaga forwarded the five bills to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for scrutiny and present a report to parliament.
Parliament has approved Shillings 13.1 billion additional funds to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs to cater for processing of amendments to the constitution by the Constitutional Review Commission.
Atoke on Wednesday told a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court Justices led by Stella Arach Amoko that they were not ready to proceed with the hearing of the case since the Attorney General William Byaruhanga and his deputy Mwesigwa Rukutana are reportedly away on official duties.
In 2016, Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe while delivering their judgment in the Amama Mbabazi Versus Kaguta Museveni and 2 Others Presidential Election Petition made pronouncements about outstanding electoral reforms.
Kadaga noted that she had previously reminded the government to bring the necessary electoral legislation so that the institution handles them in time to avoid a stampede. She expressed disappointment to Otafiire who she said has continued to the remain silent on the matter despite the publication of the 2021 general elections road map by the Electoral Commission.
Legislators sitting on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee have grilled officials from the Uganda Law Reform Commission accusing them of failure to advise Parliament on necessary electoral reforms. The Reform Commission officials led by the Chairperson Vastina Rukimirana Nsanze appeared before the committee chaired by West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth to respond to the proposed Age Limit Bill, 2017.
Niwagaba said that before his appointment, he was approached by Winnie Kiiza, the Leader of Opposition inquiring on whether he would mind serving in the shadow cabinet and raised no objection. According to Niwagaba, he will use his position to push for the proposed electoral reforms presented by civil society, MPs and other stakeholders in the Ninth parliament.