Ugandan Opposition Forging United Front Against Museveni, Dictator Of 28 Years
Gen. Museveni; master of divide-and-rule
[Uganda Elections 2016]
Demands Negotiations About Electoral Reforms To Start By End Of April 2014
In the afternoon of Monday 10 February 2014, at St. Francis Chapel Community Centre Makerere University, political parties, civil society organizations and leaders, acting together in a non-partisan spirit, and on behalf of the people of Uganda, launched The Call for Free and Fair Elections Now! This was a clarion call to the people of Uganda to demand for the urgent establishment of a new system for organizing and managing elections that can deliver genuinely free and fair elections. The statement follows:
Once again Ugandans are being summoned to prepare for general elections, in 2016. This would be the fifth such elections organized by the Museveni regime, in five yearly intervals, since it came to power in 1986. All have been defined by wholesale fraud and rigging, orchestrated terror and intimidation, and the massive diversion of tax-payers’ money and international development assistance to fund NRM campaigns and vote-buying. All this is well-established and well-documented.
After this series of sham elections, it now is absolutely clear that the Museveni/Kiggundu electoral management system, that is designed andentirely controlled and orchestrated by the Museveni regime, will inevitably produce more of the same. That system is inherently incapable of delivering free and fair elections. Any general elections conducted under current auspices and arrangements will therefore be a fraud. Discussion about 2016 should be viewed in this light.
That is why we, the undersigned political parties, civil society organizations, and leaders, acting together, in a non-partisan spirit and on behalf of the people of Uganda, demand the urgent establishment of a new system for organizing and managing elections that can deliver genuinely free and fair elections.
We put forward the following Basket of Demands, as the minimum prerequisites, for free and fair elections in our country. In this Basket of Demands, we identify and undertake to eliminate the chief mischiefs which have bedeviled previous elections.
1. New Electoral Commission
We must have new, independent and impartial Electoral Commission. The current Electoral Commission is an integral part of the electoral rigging machine of the NRM regime. A new commission must be constituted on the basis of a new modality agreed upon by all stakeholders.
2. New voters’ register
A new, clean and verifiable register of voters is an absolute necessity in order to ensure free and fair elections. The register composed by the current electoral commission is fatally flawed, because of fraud, manipulation, and incompetence. It cannot in anyway serve as the basis for organizing free and fair elections.
3. Role of security forces and militia
There should be no involvement of security forces, including militia groups, in the electoral process. The role of the police should be strictly to act impartially to ensure public order. In previous elections, we have witnessed massive partisan deployment of the military, police and militia by the regime, all to terrorize the population and rig the elections in favor of the NRM.
4. Massive diversion of public funds
New control and monitoring mechanism must be put in place, to prevent the NRM and the president from raiding the central bank, ministries, and international aid accounts, in order to finance NRM campaigns and to fund massive vote-buying.
5. Demarcation of electoral boundaries
The demarcation of all electoral boundaries, particularly parliamentary constituencies and district units, should be effected on objective and verifiable criteria. In this regard, we reject the presidential penchant for arbitrary and illegal demarcations of electoral boundaries6. Freedom to organize and assemble
There should be full guarantee, in practice, of the basic freedoms that constitute absolute prerequisites for any meaningful political activities anywhere. Of particular salience are freedoms of assembly and organization. These freedoms should be in vigor at all times, as well as in elections season. Today in Uganda, these freedoms are conspicuous by their very absence and suppression.
Political parties and dissenting groups are not free to organize, assemble or protest. They are routinely and brutally blocked. This renders the claim of multiparty democracy as well as the prospects of free and fair elections, completely fictional.
7. Selection of presiding officers
We must establish new criteria and process for selection of presiding officers, to ensure their independence and non-partisanship.
8. Processing of electoral materials
Representatives of political parties must be fully involved throughout the process of designing, printing, transporting, distribution and storage of electoral materials.
9. Ensuring integrity of tallying process
Votes for presidential and parliamentary candidates must be tallied and announced at the constituency. Arrangements must be put in place to ensure that representatives of political parties accompany ballot boxes from polling stations to the tallying centers at constituency and district levels. Also, crucially, the role of computers and computerisation in the tabulation of results must be carefully reviewed, as this has proved to be a major avenue for grand-scale rigging.
10. Adjudicating presidential election dispute
There is need to agree on a new process, which commands legitimacy and confidence all round, sofor adjudication of any dispute concerning the outcome of presidential election.
In addition to this Basket of Demands, which is specifically concerned with the establishment of a new electoral system for organizing elections, we also demand the reinstatement of the presidential term limit of two terms of five years each. This is a critical related issue.
Under this dispensation, no person who has ever served or will have served as president of Uganda for two terms would be eligible to contest for the presidency.
In putting forward this Basket of Demands for Free and Fair Elections NOW, we wish to stress the following points. The issue of a new electoral management system needs to be addressed by a National Consultation, a forum of all stakeholders, with a view to garnering national consensus on the matter.
That consensus would then form the basis for necessary constitutional and legislative action by Parliament. We call for the immediate convening of such a forum.
Any dialogue about a new electoral management system should not be open-ended to avoid deliberate delaying tactics, it must be time-bound. We shall allow until the end of April 2014, for firm commitments and arrangements to be in place for establishing a new electoral management system.
It is at that point that we shall review the situation, draw necessary conclusions, and chart the way forward, based on response and action by all stakeholders, and in particular the regime.
The ‘roadmap’ for 2016, which is being put forward by the Museveni/Kiggundu commission, is unacceptable. It is in effect a pathway to fraudulent and sham elections. To arrive at our destination of free and fair elections, we must first of all overhaul and reconstitute the electoral management system itself into a credible process.
Today we call on all Ugandans to join in this campaign, the campaign to demand Free and Fair Elections NOW. This is a non-partisan national project that brings together democracy-seeking and patriotic Ugandans of all shades and affiliations.
We are deeply pained by the state of our country and the condition of our people. We are united in our common resolve to effect democratic change and save our country from catastrophe.
For More Information:
Mathias Nsubuga Mathias.Nsubuga@yahoo.com
Okello Lucima Okello.firstname.lastname@example.org
Faridah Lule Lulefaridah831@gmail.com