The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Wednesday 18th November 2015, quizzed the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Hon. Gen. Katumba Wamala on the criteria of electing army (UPDF) representatives to Parliament.
In response, Gen Katumba informed the members that all ranks are involved in the voting.
“When the election of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) is due, each Division is informed and 30 names are generated in total. These names are submitted through the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) to the Commander in Chief. The Commander in Chief then hands the names to the Army Council which together with the Electoral Commission takes over the voting,” he said
Hon. Brig. Katirima Phinehas further informed members that the voting supports harmony and oneness; and that it would be unfair to de-campaign a colleague.
He explained that during the Constituent Assembly, a Corporal was nominated overwhelmingly.
He added that whereas all these 30 people are aware that they have been nominated, they are not aware that the Commander In Chief will approve them; hence the Army would have to pay for the candidates nomination fees.
Brig. Katirama further explained that in respect of the UPDF Act, the Army Council is obliged to elect the 10 representatives, and the entire voting process is under the supervision of the Electoral Commission.
He asserted that all ranks are catered for.
Hon. Sam Otada (Kibanda County) inquired from the CDF; why the lower cadres are not represented in Parliament, stating that a private in the UPDF is marginalized.
Hon. Gen. Wamala, further informed the Committee that the Army is unique in its setting and that all categories are catered for so long as they have the qualifications, in order to keep the quality of representation that can debate issues.
He appealed to all Ugandans to be security conscious, citing the Paris terrorism attack scenario over the last weekend.
The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee is currently considering the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment Bill) (No 2) Bill, 2015.