The JEEMA party Chairperson, Muhammad Kibirge Mayanja, says that campaigning outside the specified campaign time is a minor offence and shouldn’t constitute an offence for which candidates should be punished with 48 currency points or jail of up to 2 years.
The Justice Forum-JEEMA party has rejected a proposal
by government to punish presidential candidates for campaigning outside the
specified time, saying that it is minor to constitute an offence.
The Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill
proposes that a candidate shall hold campaigns between seven o'clock in the
forenoon and six o’clock in the afternoon.
It proposes that a
person who contravenes the provision commits an offence and is liable on
conviction to a fine not exceeding 48 currency points approximately Shillings 960,000
or imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or both.
However, the JEEMA party Chairperson, Muhammad Kibirge Mayanja, says that campaigning outside the
specified campaign time is a minor offence and shouldn’t constitute an offence
for which candidates should be punished with 48 currency points or jail of up
to 2 years.
Mayanja was appearing before the Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Committee together with other JEEMA officials to present their
views on the proposed electoral reforms tabled by Attorney General, William
He told MPs that besides being minor, the proposal is not
enforceable on the incumbent president who can’t be subjected to prosecution
and arrest, according to the Constitution.
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Mayanja also critiqued the government proposal
for candidates to declare to the Electoral Commission (EC) the source of their
campaign financing within 14 days after nominations.
He said the proposal is disappointing since the cancer of
corruption and vote buying, which have invaded and overtaken the voting process
in Uganda isn’t tackled.
"The fact that the Bills are silent about the magnitude
of expenditure by candidates means that the National Resistance Movement-NRM
government is happy that the entire voting system is commercialized," said
The JEEMA Chairman said that it was their considered opinion
that restriction and limitations shouldn’t stop at sources of financing but
should also be included on the entire campaign financing process.
The Opposition political party also demanded that
government maintains the 48 hour rule for delivery of election materials
contrary to the proposal to replace it by 'any time' before polling time.
Mayanja says the government proposal will open gates for
tampering with election materials and manipulation hence the need to maintain the
status-quo as an inbuilt safeguard to the process.
He appealed to the committee to consider the
Citizen's Compact that political parties and Civil Society Organisations
presented to parliament ahead of the 2016 general elections.
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Some of the issues highlighted in the Compact
include a new mechanism for constituting the Electoral Commission, the removal
of security forces and militia groups from the electoral process, separating
the State from the ruling party and respect for freedom of assembly among others.