Friday January 10 2014

Defer 2016 polls until reforms are made, government told


Kampala- Civil society organisations want the 2016 general elections deferred and in their place a transitional government of national unity formed.

The proposal is premised on what civil society says is the perception that political actors have lost hope in having a free and fair electoral process.

“We see no reason to go for an election in 2016 when some critical issues such as a voters register that lacks credibility, an Electoral Commission with a questionable legitimacy and responsible to one of the candidates are not dealt with,” Mr Job Kiija, the citizens’ mobilisation coordinator, NGO Forum, told the Daily Monitor.

Mr Kiija said they will mobilise the public to advocate for an interim government throughout this year.

The remarks come months after the EC launched a strategic plan to strengthen election management to ensure free and fair elections a head of the 2016. The strategy includes access to the voters’ register, civic education, among others.

The NGO Forum’s proposal, however, will require constitutional amendments to stay the slated 2016 general elections. Mr Ssewakiryanga said they are not oblivious of that and are working with different stakeholders to have the amendments made.

However, Mr Ofwono Opondo, the director Uganda Media Centre, said the country is run according to the Constitution and wondered who the CSOs speak for.

“The people who speak for Ugandans are elected MPs and councillors,” Mr Ofwono said. “We shall have elections by March 2016. No civil society organisations should direct the government what to do.”