Mugisha Muntu, the National Coordinator of the Alliance for National
Transformation-ANT party, says he isn’t any illusion that the 2021 general
elections will be free and fair.
According to Muntu,
there are many contested issues like electoral
reforms that were proposed by the Supreme Court after the 2016 elections that
haven’t been addressed by government.
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that even the proposed constitutional and political reforms by opposition political
parties, NGOs and civil society to level the playing ground haven’t been
considered by government.
“I think the only amendment, which was done was to add
the word independent to the Electoral Commission. But in substance, no
substantive amendment has been done,” Muntu said
He was addressing
journalists at the offices of Uganda Journalist
Association in Kawempe in Kampala. Muntu argued that given the unfairness in
elections, unless political parties are well organized and coordinated, they
cannot overwhelm the sitting regime.
belief is when the time is right , when opposition parties are well organized
and well-coordinated in spite of the ground not being unleveled, we can
overwhelm the regime, in spite of the impediments that are in our way,” Muntu
said his party will to work with other parties to form a coalition but hastened
to add that for any coalition to be successful, there needs to be stability
among the components that form the coalition and trust. “We
believe that for any coalition to be effective there needs to be stability
among the component parts that form a coalition, and there need to be trust
among them,” he said.
that, “Even when we launched Alliance for National Transformation, we
maintained the same. We think that while we are in the processes of discussing
how to from a coalition, we should work on the stability within the component
parts within the parties that will form a coalition, and two we should organize
ourselves so that we are strong at the grass roots, because we believe that the
stability of the coalition, will depend on the stability of the component parts.”
Paul Bukenya, the Senior Public Relations
Officer Electoral Commission dismissed Muntu’s fears that the Commission will not
organize a free and fair election as a result of unamended reforms. He says the
Commission will organise the elections under the existing legal frame work, saying
they can’t wait for everything that has been proposed to be translated into
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Bukenya asked all political leaders to build
confidence and cooperate with Electoral Commission. “What we want to advise political leaders is
to build confidence in the electorate and mobilize voters to vote, because at
the end of the day, these people are the ones who vote.” Bukenya said
delivering their judgment in the Amama Mbabazi Versus Museveni and 2
Others Presidential Election Petition in 2016, Supreme Court judges led by
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe made pronouncements about outstanding electoral
reforms that are meant to guarantee free and fair elections.
They included extending the filing
and determination period of presidential election petitions to 60 days to
enable the concerned parties and court to adequately prepare and present their
case, regulation of public officials in elections and punishment of media
houses, which refuse to grant equal airtime to all presidential candidates and
prohibition of donations during elections among others.