An Electoral Reform
Committee may soon be established once parliament adopts new amendments to the
Electoral Commission Act.
The establishment of
the committee is among the reforms in the Electoral Commission (Amendment)
Bill, 2019 tabled before Parliament last week by the Attorney General William
The Electoral Reforms Committee
will work in liaison with Uganda Law Reform Commission in studying electoral
laws, consult relevant stakeholders on proposed electoral reforms and others.
The Committee according
to the Bill will also be responsible with recommending to the Justice Minister
concrete proposals for electoral reforms and synthesize various reforms proposed
by political parties, election observers, monitors, Civil Society and
others arising from court decisions.
Election monitors, Politicians
and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have in the past complained about
failure by government to implement reforms resulting from election petitions and
the Executive Director of the National Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO)
Forum today tasked Government on the 2016 electoral reforms as recommended by
the Supreme Court Judges led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe while delivering
their judgment in the Amama Mbabazi Versus Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Others
Presidential Election Petition.
These include 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.
Ssewakiryanga also asked government to
also include the electoral reforms proposed by other players like CSOs through
the Citizens Compact that were generated following countrywide consultations
ahead of the 2016 General Elections.
Government in the Bill
proposes that the Electoral Commission Chairperson shall constitute the
Electoral Reform Committee within 6 months after the date of the last general elections
and the Committee make recommendations to the minister in 18 months after being
“The Minister shall
present the proposed electoral reforms to Parliament, if any, at least two
years before the next general elections. The Minister may, in consultation with
the Commission, by statutory instrument, make regulations prescribing the terms
and conditions of service of the Electoral Reform Committee,” reads part of the
It is proposed that the
committee shall comprise of 4 persons representing the Electoral Commission,
one of whom, the Secretary to the Commission shall be the chairperson of the
The proposed committee
will also have 3 persons representing the Attorney General, a Secretary of the
Uganda Law Reform Commission, a person representing political parties nominated
by the National Consultative Forum, a person representing Civil Society
appointed by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Local Government
Ministry Permanent Secretary and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Gender, Labour and Social Development.
Shadow Attorney General
Wilfred Niwagaba told URN that the proposal is not in good faith since it
suggests a study and compilation of reforms after the general elections.