Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM is opposed to Uganda Joint Christian Council’s recent proposal of postponing the upcoming January polls.
Justine Kasule Lumumba, Secretary General of the ruling National Resistance Movement -NRM party, says whereas the NRM is aware of the effects of covid19 to the personal health of the citizenry and the economy, it will be unconstitutional to halt the current electoral process.
In Uganda Joint Christian Council’s statement which was presented by the Kampala Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the men of God had appealed that with the current situation in the country characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic and human right violations, the election should be extended for at least three years.
Furthermore, the clerics were requesting for the amendment of the constitution to enable the incumbent President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, extend his rule and “continues ruling and guiding the country to allow both the COVID-19 pandemic and the electoral climate to cool down”.
However, Justine Kasule Lumumba. NRM’s Secretary-General, says whereas the NRM is aware of the effects of covid-19 to the personal health of the citizenry and the economy, it will be unconstitutional to halt the current electoral process.
“…the National Resistance Movement believes in the rule of law and this proposal may not be tenable under the current law,” her statement dated December 24 reads in part.
Lumumba observes that to extend the term of office of the president, as requested, it would require amendment of article 105 (1) of the constitution yet this can only be done through a referendum.
“Given the above, the proposal to amend the constitution would in practical terms not be an available option especially given the fact the general will be expressed in the next three weeks with campaigns are well underway; it would be unconstitutional to halt the current electoral process,” she added.
Kasule Lumumba’s remarks rhyme with the opinion of opposition politicians and candidates who have rejected the request with some describing it in harsh language.
Opposition politicians rather advised that the only way to halt the process in the current covid-19 crisis would be by declaring a state of emergency as required by Article 110 of the constitution.
Given that the presidential term is coming to an end, this would require the president to hand over power to the speaker of parliament.