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Gov’t asks for more time to table electoral reforms

AG Byaruhanga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Attorney General William Byaruhanga has asked for some more days to table electoral reforms. According to Byaruhanga, government will table the proposed reforms within a period of ten days.

He disclosed this while updating plenary on the progress on tabling the proposed electoral reforms.

In 2016, Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe listed 10 electoral reforms while delivering judgment in the Amama Mbabazi versus Kaguta Museveni and two others Presidential Election Petitions.

Some of the recommendations for the reforms are; extension of the filing and determination period of presidential election petitions to 60 days to enable the concerned parties and court to adequately prepare and present their case, enacting a law to bar the involvement of public servants from meddling in elections and punishment of media houses, which refuse to grant equal airtime to all presidential candidates among others.

The recommendations are aimed at creating reforms that will guarantee free and fair presidential elections in 2021 and beyond.

The opposition led by Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba has been plotting to table the proposed electoral reforms following Government’s delay since the Supreme Court made the orders.

Recently, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah gave Government up to May 14th to table electoral reforms or they give a private member an opportunity to table proposed reforms.

On Tuesday, the Attorney General Byaruhanga blamed the delay by government to table the proposed reforms on lack of funds to facilitate the Constitutional Review Commission.

He however, said they are now set to go within the next 10 days since the Finance ministry has assured them of funding.

Byaruhanga said the draft Bills have already been prepared pending submission to Cabinet for approval before they are introduced in Parliament by end of May 2019 for debate and enactment.

Some of the bills are; The Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, The Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, The Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, and The Local Governments (Amendment) Bill.

He says if Government doesn’t table their proposal, then the opposition can be given that opportunity.

Niwagaba’s appeal to have his wider proposal on electoral reforms were rejected as the house directed that the Government be given a chance to finalize its work.

Oulanyah gave Government up to 10 days as requested to table the reforms.

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