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Proposed Electoral Reforms Get Divergent Views in Gulu

Government’s proposed reforms include the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, The Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, The Political Parties and Organizations (Amendment) Bill and the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill.
Local residents, leaders and members of civil society organizations pose for a group photo infront of District Council Hall - Photo by Dominic Ochola

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Residents of Gulu have expressed divergent views on the proposed electoral reforms.

Government’s proposed reforms include the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, The Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, The Political Parties and Organizations (Amendment) Bill and the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill.

The proposals originated from the decisions of the Supreme Court in the election petition No.1 of 2016 involving Amama Mbabazi vs Y.K Museveni and others. 

During a consultative meeting on the Electoral Reforms on Tuesday in Gulu Town, Walter Akena a resident of Pece Division in Gulu municipality argues that the electoral reforms do not meet the standards and aspirations of Ugandans citing corroded integrity of the Electoral Commission and financial fair play issues among others. 

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Robert Adongakulu, an activist proposes that the reforms should embrace joint campaigns by different political candidates to minimize electoral violence and address commercialization of politics in the country.  

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Adongkulu further implored proponents of the reforms to consider and allow Ugandans in diaspora to participate in elections in the political affairs of their country. 

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According to Amos Ojogi Lakidi, the LCV councillor for Bungatira sub-county in Gulu, the reforms should observe equality before the law by compelling sitting Presidents to handover office after being nominated in order to level the ground during the campaigns.

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Meanwhile, Geoffrey Okello, a rights activist notes that the on-going countrywide consultations on the proposed reforms is being done in a rush, an indication of a bad electoral law. 

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However, Hamson Denis Obua, the Ajuri County MP in Alebtong district, also a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee conducting the consultations is confident the reforms will form good laws for the country.

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Other proposed electoral reforms include reinstating and embedding presidential term limits, and scrapping Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) representatives from parliament, trimming the size of parliament; Cabinet Ministers and 21 State Ministers among others.

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