Archive for April, 2015

CITIZENS’ REFORMS NOW’ CAMPAIGN

(‘CIREN’)

‘The Demand for Genuine Popular Constitutional Reforms for Free & Fair Elections’

30th April 2015

 REJECTION OF GOVERNMENT PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL 2015 AND DEMAND FOR GENUINE REFORMS FOR FREE, FAIR AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS

Fellow Citizens,

For so long, Ugandans have been waiting for the tabling of key constitutional amendments to Parliament by Executive arm of Government. Several proposals were submitted to government from different sources.

The most notable were Electoral Reforms proposed by the Citizens of Uganda, in their most diverse formations, collected through countrywide public dialogues, spearheaded by a consortium of political Parties and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

These proposed reforms, are contained in a ‘Uganda Citizens’ Compact on Free and Fair Elections’ signed by, among others, political parties and Civil Society Organisations and presented to the Speaker of parliament late last year.

To everyone’s dismay, government, last week, published its own shallow and cosmetic amendments through the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2015. The Bill falls far short of people’s expectations and fails to capture the key reforms that can give the country free, fair and credible elections. This is why we strongly reject the government proposed reforms in the strongest terms possible and launch a decisive, ceaseless and protracted campaign codenamed ‘CITIZENS’ REFORMS NOW’ (CIREN) to demand for the essential reforms until they are realised.

The Citizens’ Reforms       

Among the key electoral reforms agreed upon by all stakeholders in the National Consultation organized in November 2014 at Hotel Africana, include the following:

  1. A new Independent Electoral Commission by changing its appointment process, composition, security of tenure and strengthening its independence. The entire staff of the Commission to be reviewed.
  2. A new, clean and verifiable register of voters, compiled by the New Independent Electoral Commission, including eligible Ugandan voters in the Diaspora.
  3. Amending the electoral laws pertaining to the voting, tallying and transmission of elections results from the polling centers up to the National Tally Center.
  4. Regulating the role of the security forces such as the army, police etc, during elections.
  5. Strengthening the independence of other statutory bodies like commissions by reviewing their appointment and execution of duties.
  6. Protecting public funds against abuse by government especially during elections.
  7. Strengthening the Judiciary and enhance its capacity to execute its constitutional duties.
  8. Reviewing the role of the media during elections to ensure equal access to media houses by all political players and enhance media impartiality.
  9. Re-instating a two-term limit to Office of President.

These and many other amendments are what the citizens proposed for adoption by parliament if we are to have any credible elections in future.

What the ‘Citizens’ Reforms Now’ Campaign is about

The ‘CIREN’ Campaign we’re launching today shall involve a number of activities aimed at forcing Government to withdraw this senseless bill and incorporate the serious constitutional reforms/amendments contained in the Citizens’ Compact.

This campaign is a non-partisan, all-inclusive struggle to free our country from sham elections and the attendant political violence. It is aimed at rallying the citizens of all walks of life to mount pressure on Parliament and individual MPs to reject this useless bill and demand for a comprehensive one that touches the ‘heart and soul’ of our country’s political problems.

In this endeavor, we shall spare no effort in resisting, defying and fighting all steps the regime and its cohorts shall henceforth take in dragging the nation into an already fraudulent, deceptive and rigged election. We call upon the support of all Ugandans, all political parties, Civil Society Organisations and the international community in enforcing these reforms for a peaceful and democratic transition in our country.

Unless we level the political playfield NOW, we should expect no more than another rigged election in 2016 that may drag our country into bloodshed. We must all rise up now and stop the NRM Junta from hoodwinking the world that there are any reforms the bill in its current form will deliver to Ugandans.

We are going to roll out a series of activities that will as part of this campaign. In the mean time, every citizen is called upon to directly engage and apply pressure on their respective MPs.

We wish to reiterate our commitment to democratic governance and to conduct our campaign in support of and in line with the Constitutional order of our country. On behalf of all peace loving Ugandans and on our own behalf, we declare the CITIZENS’ REFORMS NOW’ (CIREN) Campaign officially launched.

For God and My Country

Delegates wave Uganda Flags as an act of togetherness at the National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections at Hotel Africana

Delegates wave Uganda Flags as an act of togetherness at the National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections at Hotel Africana. (Photo by Shawn Mubiru).

The year  2005 will go down the annals of history as a year of deep-seated betrayal of Uganda’s constituents by their elected representatives. In 2005 an important piece of principle was deleted from our Supreme law. Parliament in its wisdom or lack of, through Constitutional amendment removed the legal provision that barred a President from holding office for more than two terms. The framers of the Constitution had acted with foresight to include the clause for it would have ensured that no single President holds office until his or her voters get tired of voting him or her, in other words indefinitely.  The framers knew that no single individual should be solely responsible for fostering the country’s development forward for it is no mean task and it is the responsibility of every Ugandan. The framers knew that good governance is not a preserve of the Western countries and so they laid ground to propagate it here. The framers knew too well that the clause would foster harmonious transfer of power from one President to the next to avert any Political crisis having learnt from our turbulent political history. The framers were also aware that ten years is such a reasonable time to cause economic, social and political development if one strongly wished to do so.

However, some leaders chose to throw all caution to the wind by removing the clause allegedly in exchange for a paltry 5 million facilitation, to the detriment of the entire country. If that is not selfishness then I do not know what selfishness is.  When allegations of bribing our legislators by then became reality, we the citizens did not help matters. Lazy as we have proven to be, we sat on our backs but continued to complain about the issue and of course doing.

10 years down the road of complaining about how an important principle was and deleted out of our Constitution, our curses have not yielded much. It is now 14 years of complaining as to how the elections we have held as a country have not been free and fair since 2001 – to date. Do we want the help of our mothers in Amuru to take on the dictatorship through another show of their naked bodies?

Now that there are new allegations of deleting another piece of principle from our law on the age limit of the president, we are busy engaging in complaining rather than bold taking steps to stop this nonsense from happening again in this country . We as a people have exhibited the highest sense of patience to our elected representatives. We pay their salaries and allowances. Even when we know that the majority of them do not even attend plenary, we have continued to do nothing about it. They continue to take their voters for granted in the hope that they will please them with bars of soap and kilograms of sugar every once in 5 years!

The incompetent Electoral Commission as referred to by a High Court in a 2001 ruling  has proceeded to organize another sham election to ‘anoint the emperor’ for 5 more years. It is unfortunate that there are people who believe that they can stagger into a well-known sham election and win it. Through that sham election, some people will find their way to Parliament and will again take on the legislative mantle that may see them messing with our Constitution again. Some of our brothers and sisters argue that they have to contest not because they want to represent us, but because they want to get paid. As Hon. Paul Mwiru did put it many have turned into Parliament of Uganda as their cash cow hiding the pretence of representing Ugandans.

The signs are bold and clear enough that even the Kiggundu Team is not aware of what is going on with the 2016 electoral process. We are but moving with sacks on our heads to a journey we do not know and this is the pretence we have subjected ourselves to for decades. If we know that it is a sham process, then why are we engaging Ugandans to participate in a process that has been abused time and again?

If it our right to have a regular free and fair elections why have we relegated ourselves to just but clowns that simply nod heads but do nothing but only complain? What good will the next generation remember of us? Perhaps this generation will be remembered for organising Goat races, Dog shows, Blankets and Wines picnics, Beach and the like.

Ugandans enjoying Goat Races at Speke Resort Munyonyo

Ugandans enjoying Goat Races at Speke Resort Munyonyo

If your name was on a National Voters Register in 2001, 2006 and 2011 who has a right to strike you off that register when you are still alive? Under which law has the Electoral Commission exited from the old register into their new register? There is no better way to put it than a complete sham electoral process.

Even a country like Burundi that came from obscurity just yesterday can at least stand up for their rights; they know that all it takes is to say NO to unfair changes in their laws. But Ugandans have absorbed all kinds of insults and abuse for over 30 years. How much anger will it take for us to stand up against democratic injustices?  There are no better words to use than sounding warning about this coming presidential elections; if it is not free, then it cannot be fair! This is our election why do we always have to make it seem like this election can happen because Museveni wants it to happen as he wishes? The election this time will happen because we want it to happen in manners that serve our constitutional rights not because one man wants to be crowned.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives’. The United Nations has thus been involved in the field of electoral assistance since its founding in 1945, working to establish and advance the principles of democracy and political rights.

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Members of the The Democratic Alliance an opposition coalition after signing a coalition protocol.  Photo by Shawn Mubiru

KAMPALA: Members of the The Democratic Alliance an opposition coalition after signing a coalition protocol. Photo by Shawn Mubiru

Political stability provides for change of power peacefully. It provides for harmonious transition from one generation to another. This in essence fosters national development in terms of ensuring peace and security upon which economic development thrives. This is why in a country like Uganda where political stability has been elusive for over 52 years; Museveni’s continuity at the helm is a threat on its own for the country’s development. The pure danger to national security and prosperity of Uganda is in our midst.

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Uganda is a nation built on Godly values, with a national anthem that praises the goodness of God and his blessings for us all and a national motto that puts God first in “For God and my Country.” With such immense declaration you would expect Uganda to be the godliest country of the world but instead, Uganda is overwhelmed by egos of her rulers since independence. (more…)

And it never took me long to figure out that most of them are surviving in those tainted glasses.

Even that which they see as security, i see it as insecurity. When the bubbles bursts they will see the anger from those men who protected them from us.

It never took me long to figure out that most of them are surviving in their titles, they bring with them a sense of entitlement which makes them think we are but just their slaves.

Even when their time to vacate those offices comes, they don’t feel like it is time to end or leave but to live forever.

For they have exalted themselves in the service of their fellow country men and women.

And it never took me long to figure out that most of them are surviving in their offices, because they have run out of ideas for they just sleep, dose before those they ought to serve.

They have made service their career yet nothing comes out of their overstay.

It never took me long to figure out that most of them are surviving in their little profiles.