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Electoral reforms: UPC opposes with disclosure of source of funding

UPC President Jimmy Akena with other party officials before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) has objected to a proposal demanding presidential candidates to disclose their source of funds for campaigns 14 days after nomination.

Led by the Party President Jimmy Akena, officials from UPC on Wednesday appeared before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee that is collecting views on five electoral reform Bills tabled before parliament 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.  

Akena told MPs that the mother Act already provides the criteria where funds should not be solicited and provides that such information be provided after the election. Akena says that this current provision should be maintained since it provides sufficient safeguards and also offer anonymity to potential funders.

Akena also opposed the proposed amendment to the 48-hour rule for delivery of election materials saying that it will promote fraud. Government had proposed to replace the 48-hour rule by ‘any time’ before polling time.

He said that the amendment may lead to tampering with electoral material demanding that electoral materials should be delivered within 48 hours before polling time to prevent fraud.

UPC also proposed that for accountability and transparency, display of voting material at the start of voting at any polling station should be done in full view of least 10 voters registered to vote at the polling station contrary to a proposal by government of at least 5 voters.

Akena also recommended to the committee that colours and party regalia of a political party should not be imitated during campaigns in addition to the government proposal prohibiting imitation of symbols of other parties. 

“We propose that the words ‘colours and party regalia’ be inserted immediately after the word ‘symbols’ for the purposes of respecting and protecting registered political parties major identifications,” said Akena.

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