Joseph Kasirye, the Masaka Municipality Democratic Party-DP Organizing Secretary, says he is afraid that once appointed to a government-initiated committee, Civil society organizations will be compromised and eventually lose the impartiality with which they are perceived to execute their duties.
The proposal by government to appoint civil
society leaders onto the Electoral Reforms Committee has generated mixed
feelings among politicians in Masaka district.
Government through the Electoral Commission
Amendment Bill, 2019, which is before parliament proposes to establish a
special committee to conduct reviews in the election processes across the
The bill proposes that the reforms committee is constituted
by the Electoral Commission within six months after the date of the general
election. The committee will be expected to make recommendations to the Justice
and Constitutional Affairs minister eighteen months after being constituted.
According to the proposal, the committee will comprise of four representatives from the Electoral Commission,
three representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, Secretary to the
Law Reforms Commission, a political party and Civil Society representative among
However, the leaders of opposition political parties in
Masaka are opposed to the inclusion of civil society organizations on the
committee, arguing that this could be an attempt to muzzle their voices against
irregularities committed by government bodies.
Joseph Kasirye, the Masaka Municipality Democratic Party-DP
Organizing Secretary, says he is afraid that once appointed to a government-initiated
committee, Civil society organizations will be compromised and eventually lose
the impartiality with which they are perceived to execute their duties.
He insists that the civil society organisations should be
left to operate independent platforms through, which the local people can
freely express their views and reservations about government’s undertakings
including the electoral process.
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Among the responsibilities of the proposed
review committee as outlined in clause (2) of the bill will be to; synthesize
various reforms proposed by political parties, election observers and monitors,
and other relevant stakeholders or arising from court decisions, which will
later be submitted as recommendations to the Justice Minister.
Kasirye on the other hand challenges the unfair
representation of political parties, which he describes as key stakeholders in
the election process. Clause 1 (d) of the bill proposes that
political parties and organizations will be represented by one person nominated
by the National Consultative Forum.
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Joseph Ssenzoga, the Forum for Democratic
Change-FDC General Secretary for Greater Masaka propose the extension of time
within, which the Electoral Commission can declare election results to allow
all parties time to verify the declaration forms thoroughly.
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Jacob Oboth Oboth, the Chairperson of the Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Committee, says the committee is going to invite other
stakeholders including political parties to give their views on the bills
before parliament upon completion of the public consultations.