Tuesday May 27 2014

79% want NRM, Opposition talks on poll reforms

By Solomon Arinaitwe

Kampala- Ugandans want the Opposition and the ruling NRM party to hold talks about a raft of proposed electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections in 2016, a new opinion poll reveals.

According to results of the poll commissioned by the Daily Monitor and the Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform in the bid to gauge political and economic perceptions of Ugandans ahead of the elections, 79 per cent of Ugandans want the NRM and the Opposition to chart a way forward about the suggested electoral reforms. The poll was released last week.

When asked: “Should the Opposition enter talks with the NRM party to negotiate electoral reforms?”, 79 per cent of the 2,142 Ugandans polled responded that it is about the right time that the NRM and Opposition engaged in talks over the sticky matters of electoral reforms.

However, the proposition registered the least support in western region, a traditional NRM stronghold where only 59 per cent responded in the affirmative while 41 per cent of respondents opposed the idea.

At 90 per cent, Central region posted the highest support for talks over electoral reforms with only 10 per cent voicing resistance.
It was followed by eastern at 89 per cent with only 11 per cent not warming up to the proposal.

In the northern region, 78 percent supported the talks while 22 per cent expressed opposition.
Respondents were also asked whether they think it is possible for Uganda to experience a peaceful transfer of power after 52 years of Independence marred by violent changes of presidents.

Answering the question: “Since Independence, Uganda has never had a peaceful change of leadership from one President to another or from one political party to another, do you think it can happen in Uganda?”, 43 per cent responded that a peaceful change is now possible while 30 per cent still think a peaceful change is not possible.
Twenty-Seven per cent stated that they do not know.

In February, the Opposition and civil society groups launched a raft of electoral reforms they insist must be effected if the 2016 polls are to be considered free and fair.

They want the Electoral Commission to come up with a new, clean and verifiable voters’ register, which should include eligible Ugandans in the diaspora.

On peaceful change
Northern: At 32 per cent of respondents were the most pessimistic about the chances of Ugandans peacefully changing government. Thirty four per cent responded that Uganda was not ready for a peaceful transfer of power while another 34 per cent do not know whether it is time for peaceful change.

Eastern: Fifty-four per cent of the respondents there stated that peaceful transfer of power is now possible in Uganda while 29 per cent were not ready for a peaceful transition.

Central: Forty-nine per cent think the country is ready for a peaceful transition while 33 per cent disagree.
Western: Only 35 per cent of the respondents think that it is possible to experience a peaceful transfer of power.