The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has rejected government proposed regulations to govern political parties internal elections during Covid 19 period, presented to Parliament on Thursday Last week.
The government wants parties under regulation (2) to conduct virtual meetings, generate resolutions through signing of papers and to use unauthorized organs of parties to handpick flag bearers.
The FDC urges Parliament to reject these regulations because they have the effect of overthrowing multiparty democracy.
This is encouraging political parties to overthrow their own constitutions. How then will parties respect the national Constitution?
As FDC, the procedures and processes of candidate identification and selection are well laid out in our constitution.
“We will not learn NRM bad manners,” said the party spokesperson Ibrahim Semujju Nganda on Monday.
“We have been informed that these regulations are solely to benefit the National Resistance Movement (NRM) which manipulated its Constitution recently to provide for lining up behind candidates and are now stuck because of Covid.”
Nganda said the NRM wants to return to Electoral College and secret ballot which they selfishly removed from their constitution. Let them carry their cross alone.
Even if they are passed by Parliament, the FDC shall not abide by these regulations which are unconstitutional.
“We dont need regulations to uphold internal democracy in FDC.”
NORMAL OR NO ELECTIONS
The FDC recognizes that Uganda like any other country is faced with the Covid 19 pandemic.
The FDC believes World Health Organization (WHO) finding that social distancing, hand washing and wearing face masks are the surest way of stopping the spread of Covid 19 by the Corona virus.
“We therefore think as FDC that holding a normal election on the dates stipulated in the Constitution (January-February 2020) as announced by the Electoral Commission is a big risk.”
“But if as a country we choose to do so, these elections must be transparent as commanded by the Constitution. The Constitution provides for only normal elections where candidates freely interact with the electorate.”
“Any attempt to modify these elections will be unlawful. We have made this point clear to the Electoral Commission.”
Extension of the term of the President and Parliament as is being suggested in some quarters cannot happen because it is not supported by the Constitution.
The FDC rejects digital campaigns because they compromise the quality of elections.
The Peoples Government and the FDC are in final phases of producing a position paper that calls for a transitional arrangement when the term of office for the president, Parliament and local governments comes to an end.
“We will circulate this document to all political players, civil society and to religious leaders to facilitate a national dialogue and consensus,” Nganda noted.
“We think the country should allow the term of office for the current administration to expire. When it does so, an interim council should run the government and organize elections when the pandemic is over. The nature of the council and its members should be agreed upon by all political players in the country.”
That is what will resolve the current impasse. Parliament can make the necessary changes to the Constitution and electoral laws to accommodate this situation.
Despite the proposals above, the FDC is preparing for the general elections whenever they take place.
“We would like to remind all FDC members that issuance of nomination forms for the internal party elections ends tomorrow July 7th 2020.”
“If you picked expression of interest forms and returned them, you must fill and return nomination forms. The relevant organs will this month (July) vet all aspiring candidates. Senior party leaders will be dispatched to districts to try to build consensus where we have more than one candidate. This will be followed by primary elections.”
As of Friday, 100 aspiring parliamentary candidates had returned nomination forms at the headquarters.
Several other hundreds have also returned them to districts. This is to instruct district leaderships to forward the nomination forms to the headquarters for processing.
“We hope by the time of our primary, the decision on which sort of elections, the country will have, will have been reached.”
Nganda said the party Sub County Chairperson for Okungur Sub County, Kapelebyong District, Mr. Emmanuel Omoding and an aspirant for the position of LC3 Chairperson Okungur Sub County, Mr. Osou Simon Peter, were arrested, seriously beaten by police and detained at Okungur Police Station.
Mr. Omoding was meeting less than five party members who were returning expression of interest forms issued by the FDC, he was also issuing party cards to members.
The party nomination forms and party cards were confiscated.
The FDC demands for the immediate and unconditional release of the two party officials, forms and FDC cards.
Police should be aware that there is a roadmap issued by the Electoral Commission requiring parties to identify and select candidates, he said.