KAMPALA – The Forum for Democratic Change has introduced its own version of electoral reforms and said the ones proposed by the ruling government last year are a ploy to rig the 2021 elections.
Addressing a press conference at their head offices in Najjanankumbi near Kampala on Monday, FDC Deputy Spokesman, John Kikonyogo, particularly singled out the government proposal that security forces will vote four days before official polling dates.
This, he said, is intended to intimidate security forces who have traditionally voted FDC in the past elections.
“It is on record that FDC has been winning in all Army Barracks including Special Forces Command (SFC), an army that guards Mr. Museveni. It is interesting that People who are assumed to be guarding Mr. Museveni don’t see leadership competence in him and never vote for him. This law, therefore, is specifically intended to gag and intimidate the army from democratic processes where they are entitled to freely make the choice of their leaders,” he said.
Among the proposed electoral reforms by government are that cameras and phones won’t be allowed within the voting area, results will be announced to only 5 People, EC to gazette restricted voting areas and political Parties shall not have links with any pressure groups. The government reforms also indicate that Independent Presidential Candidates shall not form any alliances with a Registered Political Party.
But in its own proposed electoral reforms, the FDC said the Military should have no involvement in the electoral processes and should remain focused on its constitutional duty of securing our borders and defending our sovereignty. “Ensuring law and order during elections should be exclusively the responsibility of the regular police. The police personal deployed to provide security, law and order during the elections period should be placed under the supervision and direction of the Electoral Commission,” Mr Kikonyogo said.
FDC also proposes that the Patriotism secretariat under the President’s office should be abolished and patriotism training should be integrated into the education curriculum. “The Office of the RDC should be abolished or transformed into a public service job to be managed by the Public Service Commission,” FDC says.
The party also called for a new independent and impartial electoral commission whose selection of commissioners and Staff must follow an open process of application, public hearing and scrutiny conducted by the Judicial Service Commission.
“Successful candidates then be finally submitted to vetting by parliament and upon approval be issued with instruments of appointed by the President,” says FDC.
FDC also says the Public Order Management Act (POMA) must be repealed. “The Police (Amendment) Act (2006) must be amended and brought into full conformity with the Bill or rights under Chapter Four of the Constitution,” the party says.
On electoral Materials, FDC says processing and procurement of electoral materials, including, printing, distribution of all materials should, at all levels and stages, ensure the participation, security and observation of key stakeholders, particularly political parties, civil society, election observers and the media.
FDC also says a mechanism must be established to monitor and prevent raids for funds from the Central Bank, Ministries and international assistance accounts, in the period before and during elections campaigns. An office of the controller of Budget should be established, to keep track of money trails and prevent diversions of funds from treasurer, ministries etc.., for partisan political processes and activities.