Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Democratic Party (DP) has proposed an increment of a penalty to a media house that denies equal access to all candidates in the 2021 general elections.
According to the party’s proposals submitted to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee by its Secretary-General Dr Gerald Siranda, DP says that the matter has been a concern of political parties in opposition for a very long time and that the government should prescribe punishment.
Siranda, however, noted that the proposed fine of 24 currency points (480,000 Shillings) for a public officer, when found culpable, is light and not deterrent enough. He proposed that the fine is increased to a more punitive 100 currency points ( 2 million shillings).
Democratic Party also proposed an election technology advisory committee to help in the improvement of election integrity as it is in Kenya.
Siranda led a team of officials from the DP to present their proposals to Parliament in regard to the 5 electoral reform bills tabled by Attorney General William Byaruhanga. The Bills include the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, the Political Parties and Organization (Amendment) Bill and the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill.
DP supported the government proposal requiring a party member wishing to contest as an independent to cease being a member of a given political party, at least one year before the next election.
“This was one of the proposals the DP submitted to the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) Council. We believe that this legislation will improve the accountability relationship between political parties and their members,” said Siranda.
The Party was also in agreement with the allotment of time for conducting campaigns from seven o’clock to six o’clock. Siranda however disagreed with the custodial punishment of 48 currency points (960,000 Shillings) or 2 years imprisonment on Presidential Candidates who fail to respect the provision saying that it is excessive. The party proposed that this proposed penalty is deleted or replaced by an appropriate monetary fine.
Like the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), the Democratic Party also disagreed with the proposed amendment to the 48-hour rule for delivery of election material.
Government had proposed to replace the 48-hour rule by ‘any time’ before polling time but DP says that the amendment gives latitude to the Electoral Commission to deliver polling materials to the polling stations at its convenience and that the proposal should be deleted since it opens a door for tampering with electoral materials.