By Samuel Ssebuliba
The Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda has written to the president asking him to urgently implement electoral reforms as the country prepares for an unprecedented number of elections this year.
In the February 19th letter, the coalition wants the president to constitute a Constitution Review Commission to facilitate the review process.
The group’s coordinator Crispy Kaheru says under chapter II of 2016 – 2021 manifesto, the National Resistance Movement commits to upholding the principle of democracy where citizens directly participate in regular, free and fair elections so action must be taken now.
“We write this letter with a profound appreciation that this year government plans to conduct elections in the six newly created districts of: Nabilatuk, Bugweri, Kwani, Kapelebyong, Kasanda, and Kikuube; elections will also be conducted to fill vacancies in about 264 of the 1,403 sub counties in Uganda. Other elections envisaged include: Parliamentary and Local Government by-elections, as well as possible Local Council I and II elections alongside the possibility of a National referendum”, says Mr. Kaheru in the letter.
He says the government’s reluctance to consider popular progressive electoral reforms, in order to address electoral deficits that have afflicted previous elections, has dented the credibility of electoral processes.
“Your Excellency, the work of CCEDU has since 2009 affirmed the crucial need to address legal and political reforms. Through the Free and Fair Elections 2013/14 public consultations conducted countrywide, over 1,200,000 Ugandans directly endorsed the Citizens’ Compact and the Citizens’ Electoral Reform Agenda (CERA). In addition, a research conducted by Afrobarometer in 2015, indicated that 89% of Ugandans wanted electoral reforms before the 2016 elections”, the letter reads in part.