KAMPALA – The Electoral Commission is seeking to have amendments into the electoral laws to provide avenues for early voting in the coming 2021 general elections.
The revelation was made today by the Electoral Commission Deputy Spokesman, Paul Bukenya in an interview at Parliament where he said that among the amendments being proposed by would provide for early voting to allow professionals who are always busy on the voting day such as police officers, journalists and election officers among others to vote in person before Election Day.
“He said: “We realize that some people, because of the nature of their work on polling day, they aren’t able to go to their polling stations to cast their vote and yet they are registered voters and the Commission has printed ballot papers for them, eventually, the journalists, election officials, security officers and other stakeholders don’t participate, it becomes a waste of money first of all and also, they have a right to vote.”
Bukenya also welcomed the move by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga tasking the Executive to bring electoral reforms early enough arguing that making amendments to electoral laws will help in the effective planning and implementation of the 2020/2021 strategic plan and election roadmap.
The Commission mouthpiece said: “We welcome the debate and we will contribute towards that because we have also researched on that. If there are any amendments, they can be catered for. It is better to plan now than sit and wait and even speculate. It is very good in terms of preparation and it will also prompt stakeholders to take on their responsibilities.”
It should be recalled that on Wednesday, Kadaga has ordered the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kahinda Otaffire to provide a statement on when his Ministry intends to table the electoral reforms as had been highlighted in the 2016 election petition by former premier, Amama Mbabazi.
In her communication to the August House the Speaker said that for the last two sessions, she has been appealing to the Government to bring the necessary legislation so as to allow Parliament handle the reforms, but despite this, the Ministry of Justice has remained silent on the issue of electoral reforms.
The Speaker said: “No response has been given. Obviously, I think they expect as usual to stampede this House. Sometimes in that stampede, we may not make perfect laws but it shows that they don’t respect this House, so even when we say bring, they aren’t interested.”
She then called on the Vice President, Edward Ssekandi to lead the Government team saying there is need for the Executive to help the country by doing their part.
Kadaga said that the effects of the delays by the Executive have been pushed to Parliament because the public believes the Legislative body hasn’t acceded to the direction of the Supreme Court.
“They don’t know that it is the Government which was directed to do certain reforms so I have to keep answering the same question and one which isn’t asked is Government. So please do the needful. So I now direct the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to come here on Tuesday 22nd January 2019 and advice us about the process of electoral reforms so that we can work out our legislative program for the remaining period of the 10th Parliament,” Kadaga ordered.