Government finally tables electoral reforms

FILE PHOTO: Attorney General, William Byaruhanga

Kampala, Uganda – Government has tabled proposed electoral reforms to several laws including the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill No.17, 2019, the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill No.18, 2019 and others.

The others are the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill No. 19, 2019, the Political Parties and Organization (Amendment) Bill No. 20, 2019 and the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill No.21, 2019.

The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga tabled the bills for the first reading before parliament chaired by the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday afternoon.

Kadaga forwarded the five bills to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for scrutiny and present a report to parliament.

The Parliament Rules of Procedure require the committee to scrutinize a bill within 45 days and present a report back to parliament for debate. Shortly after the presentation by the Attorney General, the Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba also noted that the opposition has various amendments to electoral laws and the Constitution.

He sought space on the Order Paper to present they proposal so that they are considered alongside those of government. Kadaga directed the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige to include the request on the Order Paper for Tuesday next week to allow the opposition to present its proposed reforms.

Earlier this year, the Opposition unveiled ten proposed electoral reforms. Key among the reforms are reinstating and entrenching presidential term limits, making a deputy president a running mate to the president during elections and scrapping Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) representatives from parliament and any other partisan institutions.

The other reforms are that if a presidential candidate garners 10% in general elections, they should be ex-official Members of Parliament, creation of a Speaker’s Panel to advise the office of the Speaker and preside over parliament in case the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are indisposed, and creation of a lean government of only 21 Cabinet Ministers and 21 State Ministers.

The Buliisa County MP, Stephen Mukitale Birahwa also reminded the speaker of several electoral reforms that were shelved by the Ninth Parliament for future consideration. He also asked the speaker to seek an explanation from government on the progress of the establishment of the Constitutional Review Commission, which he said was vital.

However, Kadaga said parliament should concentrate on handling the business before the house.


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