The Speaker of Parliament, Rt.Hon. Rebecca Kadaga has re-echoed the need for the government to table electoral reforms early to avoid past mistakes.
Kadaga said that the pursuit for electoral reforms started in the 9th Parliament with a call for a complete overhaul of the electoral system and institutions.
‘A lot of consultations and recommendations were made but the process was interrupted by the preparations and the actual elections of February 2016,” she said.
The Speaker made these remarks while opening a conference on “Reflections on the 2016 Elections” held at the Protea Hotel on Friday, 25th November 2016.
Kadaga added that following the elections, local and international observers made recommendations for electoral reforms for free, fair and credible elections.
“I hope these recommendations are followed and the reforms made sooner than later,” she said. The Speaker also added that, “The Supreme Court in its ruling on the 2016 election process also underscored the need for structural and legal reforms which could create a conducive atmosphere for free and fair elections”
The Speaker called on government to table the reforms not later than the Third Session of the 10th Parliament to avoid the panic that comes with delays.
“The House is ready; I also encourage the MPs to bring their own Motions and not wait for the government. Let us bite the bullet and move with our own proposals,” Kadaga added.
The Secretary of the Electoral Commission, Sam Rwakoojo said that if the laws are passed late, the Commission is not in position to help the persons involved in the election process.
“The Supreme Court made its ruling. We have only three years from the date of that judgement to the time government should present the reforms. We need these laws in place,” he said.
The Executive Director of the Human Rights Centre, Margret Ssekagya said that the Attorney General has to make recommendations from the judgment and present them to Parliament.
“The Attorney General should take up his role, lobby and encourage government to take up the recommendations which will then be tabled before Parliament and later implemented if passed,” Ssekagya said.
The one day conference is supported by the National Democratic Institute, USAID and is organised by the Institute of Parliamentary Studies (IPS).