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Opposition gives Museveni ultimatum on reforms

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By SOLOMON ARINAITWE

Posted  Wednesday, March 19   2014 at  02:00

In Summary

The opposition want at least 10 electoral reforms considered by April

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Parliament.
Opposition political parties warned yesterday that President Museveni will “bear the consequences” if the government does not by April respond to their proposal for at least 10 electoral reforms put forward to guarantee free polls in 2016.
The warning was sounded after day-long meetings at Parliament.

The meetings convened at the behest of the Leader Of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Wafula Oguttu, were mainly to hammer out a contingency plan if the government again does not warm up to the proposed reforms.
Forum for Democratic Change president Mugisha Muntu, Uganda Peoples Congress president Olara Otunnu, Democratic Party president Norbert Mao and senior opposition activist Kizza Besigye attended.

The ultimatum comes at a particularly tense political time as the ruling National Resistance Movement remains locked in a stand-off over a controversial proposal by MPs to front Mr Museveni as the sole party candidate.
Dr Besigye, the former FDC leader, has also indicated that he will not participate in the 2016 elections unless electoral reforms are implemented to mitigate the prevailing circumstances which enable the incumbent regime to fix results.

Already, the opposition have vowed to use any means possible to stop the organising of a disputed by-election for the Kampala lord mayoral seat, potentially setting the stage for a clash with security agencies.
Key among the reforms demanded is for the disbandment of the Badru Kiggundu-led Electoral Commission, issuance of a new voters’ register that includes Diaspora-based Ugandans and streamlining the role of security forces during elections.

Yesterday, Mr Ofwono Opondo, the director of the Uganda Media Centre - the agency that handles government communication - accused the opposition of seeking to claim the moral high ground.

“The government does not work on ultimatums. What is so magical about April?. Government has a set of electoral reforms that are being prepared and once they are ready, a White Paper will come out. The opposition should not claim a moral ground on governance issues,” Mr Opondo said.

sarinaitwe@ug.nationmedia.com