The Inter- Party Coalition for Dialogue (IPOD) tabled before Parliament 43 Electoral and Constitutional Reform proposals, which seek to improve the conduct of the next general elections in 2016.
Members of the six-party coalition who met Right Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of Parliament in her Chambers last week, want amendments made to the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections laws, Local Government Act, Electoral Commission Act and the National Constitution.
IPOD Chairman Engineer Omar Kalinge Nyago said the selection and tenure of office of members of the Electoral Commission requires review by Parliament.
“The number of Commissioners should increase from seven to nine but their term of office should be restricted to seven non-renewable years in order to minimize the possibility of compromise in anticipation of re-appointment,” he said.
The proposals tabled by IPOD include empowering the Constituency to serve as the basic electoral unit; requiring the Electoral Commission to formulate voter education programmes jointly with political parties; and waiving the requirement for civil servants to resign before being nominated.
IPOD also proposes a ban on election of special interest groups like the Army, Youth and Workers to Parliament; re-instatement of Presidential term limits and the introduction of proportional representation as an electoral system for Uganda.
Nyago reemphasized the need for amendments to the legal regime to empower a Court convicting a candidate of voter bribery to bar that candidate from standing for elective public office for a period of five years.
Meanwhile the National Consultative Forum for Political Parties and Organizations has also proposed to Parliament to consider several electoral reforms including the registration and voting for Ugandans living in the diaspora.
The Attorney General Hon. Fredrick Ruhindi says the Forum also proposes a review of the recruitment and identification process for members of the Electoral Commission through engagement of the Judicial Service Commission and in consultation with political parties.
“Interaction of political parties on the floor of Parliament is not adequate. Many other registered Parties have no representation in the House. But we all need to build a consensus on the future of this country,” he said.
Speaker Kadaga applauded both organizations for electoral reform proposals but reaffirmed the need for their presentation by Government on the floor of Parliament as soon as possible.
“ I have seen several areas of convergence in the IPOD and National Forum proposals. We need to build consensus on all issues ahead of the next elections. I reaffirm the readiness of Parliament to receive and consider the proposals,” she added.
The Speaker said legislators would be accorded adequate time to consult the public on the Constitutional and electoral reforms once tabled by the Attorney General.