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Uganda lacks institutional democracy – MAK Don

Professor Sabiti Makara a Political Science lecturer at Makerere University

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |Professor Sabiti Makara a Political Science lecturer at Makerere University says Uganda has failed to consolidate its Democracy.

Prof. Makara says the country merely practices Electoral democracy which is a ritual of elections every five years.

Prof. Makara was delivering a keynote address on Thursday at a virtual town hall meeting under the theme, Reflections on Electoral Democracy in Uganda organized by the Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM)

He notes that for consolidation of democracy to take place there must be a rule of law which takes precedence over those in the position of power. He also notes that this must be seen in the existence of political space for various parties and observance of human rights. 

Prof. Makara adds that in countries like Uganda where democracy is not institutionalized there is the humiliation of opposition candidates since the system has not accepted multi-party democracy.  

Prof. Makara quotes renowned political scientist Samuel Huntington who wrote in his book ‘Political order in changing societies’ “developing societies like to have democracy and political parties but when political parties become an inconvenience they dispense with them.”

The Makerere University Don observes that countries that have made headway in democracy have benefited from two factors which include separation of powers and term limits.

Prof. Makara has recommended that the Electoral Commission law be amended to give commissioners a permanent and final tenure of perhaps 10 years such that they are not beholden to the appointing authority for renewal of their contracts.

Under the current law, the president appoints the commissionersfor a seven yeartermrenewable only once.

He also suggests the Electoral Commission should not just take on a procedural management role but manage the entire electoral process including the party primaries.

Another recommendation he makes is that the laws should be amended to make violence very costly both for the citizens and the armed forces. 

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