Government has cleared the air about the electoral reforms that they recently tabled before parliament.
Last week, government tabled proposed electoral reforms to several laws including the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill No.17, 2019, the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill No.18, 2019, the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill No. 19, 2019, the Political Parties and Organization (Amendment) Bill No. 20, 2019 and the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill No.21, 2019 attracting backlash over the intension of the reforms.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday, the Attorney General, William Bayaruhanga said there has been a misrepresentation of the electoral reforms that he tabled before parliament last week.
“There have been a number of misrepresentations on the bill arising out of failure to read or comprehend provisions of the bill or there has been a deliberate mission to misinform the public to concoct provisions which are not part of the bill,” Byaruhanga said.
Not targeting Bobi Wine
Following the tabling of the reforms, it was widely reported that one of the provisions was that an independent candidate would not be allowed to form any alliance with a registered political party or organization.
Many, especially politicians concluded that the provision had been brought to target Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine.
However, the Attorney General said the proposed reform had nothing related to gagging or targeting the Kyadondo East legislator as alleged.
“That provision is not there and if it is anywhere, let someone show it to me. The reforms are not here to target Bobi Wine and if in any case, he should be buying me a beer,” Byaruhanga.
“The new reforms in fact are supporting him by saying you can associate with any political party.”
Byarughanga said that one of the provisions suggests that a person elected to parliament as an independent may form an alliance with a registered political party or an organization adding that forming of such an alliance shall not be construed as joining that organization.
The Attorney General further explained that among the proposed electoral reforms, there is none stipulating that soldiers and other members of the security agencies would be allowed to vote earlier than other voters.
“Surprisingly there is no single provision in the bill which has a direct or indirect expression to early voting by soldiers and other security personnel. Maybe it was discussed but not in bills we presented. There is also no bill talking about prohibition of the use of cameras and cell phones at polling centres,” Byaruhanga said.
“These are facts we say have registered misrepresentation. The ongoing discussion concerning electoral reform bills was factually incorrect .”