CITIZENS’ REFORMS NOW’ CAMPAIGN
‘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
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:
- 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.
- A new, clean and verifiable register of voters, compiled by the New Independent Electoral Commission, including eligible Ugandan voters in the Diaspora.
- Amending the electoral laws pertaining to the voting, tallying and transmission of elections results from the polling centers up to the National Tally Center.
- Regulating the role of the security forces such as the army, police etc, during elections.
- Strengthening the independence of other statutory bodies like commissions by reviewing their appointment and execution of duties.
- Protecting public funds against abuse by government especially during elections.
- Strengthening the Judiciary and enhance its capacity to execute its constitutional duties.
- Reviewing the role of the media during elections to ensure equal access to media houses by all political players and enhance media impartiality.
- 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