The national coordinator of Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) Chrispy Kaheru has reawakened the debate on electoral reforms.
He says these proposed reforms are not an issue of making the NRM or opposition happy but are building blocks for Uganda’s democracy.
He however shows pessimism because at the end of the day, electoral reforms have to be passed by Parliament where NRM holds majority
“We shouldn’t see electoral reforms as endangering to the NRM or uplifting for the opposition. They are aimed at returning confidence,” Kaheru said on Tuesday while appearing on NBS television.
He said for example the release of the election road-map, three years before the election, was a plus this time round.
“Working Biometric Voters Verification Kit was another laudable positive.”
What’s next is picking up on the Supreme Court recommendations in as far as electoral reforms are concerned, he maintained.
“Very soon, we will be having by-elections. Call for electoral reforms should be sustained. Supreme Court recommendations should be realised.”
Kaheru noted that the arbiter should be evaluated and strengthened so that Electoral Commission commissioners are competitively appointed after thorough vetting.
He says the will of the people is political; that is not what Supreme Court went out to address but that the court pronounced itself on legal matters.
“Right to vote, as a minimum standard of an election, was not met due to delayed materials. Many walked away.”
He said Ugandans went into an election where the National Voters’ Register was publicly shared for scrutiny a few weeks before Election Day.
“President Museveni was announced winner by Electoral Commission. His win was later endorsed by Supreme Court. But the elections didn’t meet the international standards.”
According to him, regularity of elections is provided for in the Constitution and is nothing to celebrate.
“The Supreme Court ruling on Amama Mbabazi petition did not vindicate Electoral Commission. Rather, the entire ruling further highlighted what went wrong.”
He said Supreme Court ruling on the petition would mean something if recommendations therein are taken seriously.
“Supreme Court made a legal interpretation and made a verdict but that ruling can’t take care of the wider political issues.”
“We need to take care of the independence of the arbiter Electoral Commission. That isn’t done by Supreme Court but by further dialogue and political resolve.”