MPs reject proposal to limit independent candidates

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Speaker Kadaga making her way to the Chambers.

Parliament on Thursday passed the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill 2019.

On independently sponsored presidential candidates, MPs shot down a proposal to limit such candidates with requirements such as proof of having been discharged by their parties.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Hon Ephraim Kamuntu, was left to defend the proposal alone.

“The system of political governance is multiparty; consequently, if you take it together with article 83, you will realise the importance of this provision; this clause is controversial so I beg that you give us time,” said Kamuntu.

Victoria University

The original clause had suggested a minimum period of 12 months within which an individual seeking to run for president as an independent candidate should have relinquished the membership of a registered political party.

MPs rejected the proposal.

MP Jonathan Odur (UPC, Erute South) termed the proposal unconstitutional.

“What if your political party says he is still ours? Both proposals [from the government and the Committee] are unconstitutional and the House should reject them,” said Odur.

Military and police installations have been barred from hosting polling stations, pursuant to modifications MPs made on clause 10 of the Bill.

The Bill opens the door for several amendment of laws touching on elections, popularly dubbed ‘Electoral Reforms’ and includes the Parliamentary Elections Act and the Local Government Act.

With the nomination dates for presidential and Parliamentary elections drawing closer, government has been under pressure to present  amendments to the laws relating to elections, especially after defaulting on the Supreme Court recommendations in the Amama Mbabazi Vs Yoweri Museveni & others Presidential election petition No1 of 2016.

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