KAMPALA – The Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) has requested the government to consider allocating a portion of the national budget to go towards preaching the ‘gospel of elections’ ahead of the 2021 general elections.
The shocking revelation was made on Thursday 3 by Father Constantine Mbonabingi, Chief Executive Secretary Uganda Joint Christian Council while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to present the Church’s views on the five bills presented by Government in July for electoral reforms.
UJCC which has been in existence since 1962 brings together the catholic, Anglicans and orthodox churches in Uganda and among the proposals fronted by the Council is civic education to electorates that will be critical at ensuring the electorates are informed on the election process to help them make informed decisions.
Mbonabingi said, “There is a need for this to be prioritized as this empowers citizens to exercise their rights to determine who should govern them from an informed point of view. In this regard, the government is urged to publish the 2013 draft national civic education policy, allocate sufficient resources to the Human Rights Commission of Uganda and the Electoral Commission for effective conduct of civic and voter education respectively. We urge the government to allocate resources to faith-based bodies and other civil society organisations to deliver voter education including the use of state funds for the purpose.”
However, Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri County) asked the Church if it is ready for the Auditor General to audit accounts of the church after receiving funds on voter election education since the law stipulates that any organisation that receives funds from the consolidated fund has to be audited.
The Council also rejected the proposal by Government barring candidates from contesting as independents saying that while the move may go a long way towards strengthening a multiparty political dispensation in Uganda, major concern should be taken as to why people may leave political parties to stand as independents.
He said, “One of the key challenges is absence of democracy within political parties especially during party primary elections that have been characterised by vices of discrimination and lack of a leveled ground for all members to fair competitively stand for available party positions in a free and constructive.”
The Council also proposed to have the army left out of the election process highlighting that whereas security is important in an election process, there is over the deployment of security and stating that the over militarisation of an election process threatens and intimidates voters.