KAMPALA – Civil Society Activists through their umbrella body, Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) have on September 11, called for banning of all candidates found guilty of giving out donations including the President, during campaign time.
The activists made the proposal on Wednesday while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee which is currently scrutinising five bills that were tabled by the Executive intended to make electoral reforms ahead of the 2021 general elections.
Sarah Bireete, who led the submission from CCEDU welcomed the proposal in the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill 2019 that seeks to ban giving of donations including the president but argued that the penalties should be more stringent in order to sanitise Uganda’s democratic process.
“We suggest penalty should be added any person who contravenes the above section shall be disqualified during the election process,”she argued.
The activists also proposed to have any person who is found to have participated in election malpractice not be eligible to stand in fresh elections.
They activists also called for stringent punishment of public officers who engage in campaigns suggesting that public servants who engage in acts of campaigning, soliciting for votes, permits another person to use public resources should be fined UGX10M or face imprisonment of five years and the same punishment should apply to security officers who use their guns to threaten voters, election officials.
Crispin Kaheru, Coordinator at CCEDU while addressing MPs said that Uganda has held five successive elections since the propagation of constitution on 8th October 1995, but since 2001, these elections have been contested with courts consistently holding that elections have fallen short of requirements in the constitution.
He also argued that whereas they welcomed the electoral proposals presented by Government, the electoral reforms don’t suggest any significant shift from status quo and can’t guarantee that Uganda will have free elections.
The Activists also called on the Legal Committee to incorporate opinions they obtained from regional consultations they recently held stating that a similar process was conducted but most of reforms obtained from hearing couldn’t be adopted because of lack of time, something they described as regrettable because a lot of taxpayers’ money went into this exercise, “You are all potential victims of a flawed elections we urge you to take this as a priority to enact laws that guarantee free and fair elections,” said Kaheru.