President Museveni has assented to four new electoral laws, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu has said.
“The president has assented to the four bills including the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Political Parties and Organisations (Amendment) Bill 2019,” Kamuntu told parliament.
The Minister however noted that the president refused to assent to the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which among others wants to have the minimum qualification of a UACE certificate or its equivalent for all political heads of urban councils.
“When we presented it to him, he said putting such qualifications disenfranchises many people,” Kamuntu told journalists on Thursday.
Candidates to declare the source of funding
According to the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act, 2019, presidential candidates will have to declare their source of funding 14 days after nomination by the Electoral Commission.
The new law stipulates that a candidate shall not also obtain, solicit or receive any financial or other assistance from an organisation which has been declared a terrorist organisation under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2002 and that a candidate or their agent who contravenes the same commits an offence and is liable to five years imprisonment on conviction.
The law affects both presidential and parliamentary candidates.
The NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba last year told parliament that the amendment is necessary to help curb interference in the country’s politics by foreign hostile countries or organisations.
Among the new electoral laws is the Political Parties and Organisations Act that stipulates that no candidate shall run independently of a party after participating in a party primary and that those elected as independents shall have a right to ally with any political party of their choice upon joining Parliament.
The electoral reforms are part of the recommendations by the Supreme Court in the aftermath of the 2016 general election and others extracted from the constitutional commission review.