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CCEDU proposes UGX 10m fine for threatening candidates, supporters

 

FILE PHOTO: Bobi Wine during recent campaigns

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda- CCEDU has proposed a 10 million shillings fine or a maximum of five years in jail or both for any person who threatens candidates and supporters during campaigns and elections.

Presenting the consolidated views of CCEDU on the electoral reform bills to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Wednesday, the Executive Director of Constitutional Center for Governance, Sarah Birete, proposed that individuals who use a weapon to threaten, intimidate, or behaves in a manner which has an effect of threatening or intimidating a candidate, a supporter of a candidate, voter, election official or candidate’s agent to be penalized.

Birete also noted that the Presidential elections Amendment Bill does not provide for penalties for public officers who engage in election campaigns, and yet it was also one of the recommendations of the Supreme Court in the 2016 presidential election petition.

She says that such officers should pay a fine not exceeding shillings 10 million or serve a maximum of 5 years or both.

CCEDU however opposes the provision that provides that independent candidates can only be nominated if they left a political party or organization 12 months to nomination.

Birete says that the provision, provided for in the presidential, parliamentary and local governments Bills, is regressive and unconstitutional because citizens have the right and freedom to associate and participate in affairs of government and also stand for elections as candidates of political parties or as independents.

However, MPs led by Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa, also President of Justice Forum-JEEMA and Agago County MP, Edward Otto Makmot asked CCEDU how parliament can help in the regulation of independents, as provided for in the 1995 Constitution.

Birete says that regulation should not result in prohibition of candidates from changing their minds to contest as independents any time before nomination.

Mitooma Woman MP, Jovah Kamateeka however says that CCEDU’s proposal will affect political parties and organizations that rely on certain candidates.

However, other  MPs including and  Kaberamaido  Woman MP,  Veronica Eragu Bichetero  and Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu  disagreed with Kamateeka on government’s proposed  eligibility requirements for nominating independent candidates.

CCEDU also proposes among others that the Judicial Service Commission should advertise, vet and recommend candidates for Electoral Commission to the President for appointment.

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