Kampala, Uganda | Julius Businge | On Sept.19, the European Union in Uganda in conjunction with Makerere University held a one day event to discuss the role of Parliament in shaping representative democracy in Uganda. Held at Makerere University Main Hall, the event was to commemorate the International Day of Democracy, 2019. Issues regarding election malpractice, suppression of human and voting rights, voter bribery, gaps in women and youth empowerment, torturing of opposition politicians and media practitioners were raised during the discussion.
Speakers said that these issues were negatively impacting on the role of Parliament in shaping representative democracy in Uganda. H.E Attilio Pacifici, the European Union Ambassador to Uganda had earlier said democracies today face many challenges as countries seek answers to serious questions on how their system of government can adapt in a complex and changing world. “In Uganda as elsewhere, representative democracy and the role played by Parliament is an important part of these ongoing discussions,” he said. Pacifici said that they deliberately chose to hold this event at Makerere to give chance to the students to express their views because they are the leaders of tomorrow. “That is what democracy is about,” he said. He also said investment in good education is important for empowering citizens to push for good democratic practices. He said the EU remains committed to engaging the media and using the latter to pass on messages on democracy and governance. He also said that Parliament has to push for accountability on resource utilisation and making meaningful legislation that positively impact the people.
“That is the relationship that should exist between the MPs and the people that elect them,” he said. He said the EU would continue to partner with institutions like Makerere University to promote democracy in Uganda.
Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor of Makerere University said, that accountability of any organisation depend on the prevailing democratic process.
“As a young democracy with a very young population, there must be democratic representation in all sectors,” Nawangwe said. “I think this is the right way to prepare our young people to lead our country in the future,” he added.
Kaps Fungaroo, the opposition Member of Parliament for Obongi County Constituency said the regime in power still has a long way to go when it comes to putting in place an environment that supports good democratic practices for all political players.
“Theoretical democracy is what we are having here,” he said, “We have to fight for true democracy,” he added.
He urged the student community to engage in advocacy campaigns geared towards achieving the democracy that all the people want.