The opposition Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) said last week it will petition the United Nations to intervene in its fight to have the current Electoral Commission disbanded because government seems reluctant to address their concerns.
“We are going to appeal to the UN since the internal remedies have failed to solve the issue,” said Ken Lukyamuzi, president of the Conservative Party (CP), a member of the IPC. Lukyamuzi made these remarks during a political rally organised by the IPC at Makerere University on September 29.
The IPC, which has in the past organised a series of demonstrations against the EC, says that the Badru Kiggundu led commission is incompetent and plays to the tune of President Museveni.
“He [Museveni] is the appointing authority of the commission that is going to organise an election of which he is a participating candidate,” said FDC’s Okumu Reagan at the same rally.
Asuman Basalirwa, the JEEMA president, said that if anybody violates the constitution then it calls for its protection by the citizens as stipulated in Article 3.
The IPC comprises Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Justice Forum (JEEMA) and CP. Although the coalition’s presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye, picked EC nomination forms, the IPC could still boycott the elections if it’s not satisfied they will be free and fair.
Meanwhile, at least 30 individuals have picked presidential nomination forms from the EC, including Democratic Party (DP) candidate Norbert Mao, Uganda Federal Alliance’s Olive Beti Kamya, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Dr. Abed Bwanika of the People’s Development Party (PDP).
Nakawa polls: Anne Mugisha threatens to sue FDC
Efforts by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to somewhat temper claims of rigging in its grassroots elections don’t seem to have yielded any positives after Anne Mugisha, a parliamentary aspirant for Nakawa, threatened to sue the party if her opponent, Michael Kabaziguruka, is not disqualified from the race.
Mugisha claims Kabaziguruka has used his position on the FDC electoral commission to influence the outcome of village level elections (Polling Area Branches-PAB) in the constituency. Until late August, Kabagaziruka was a member of the FDC electoral commission chaired by Dan Mugarura.
Mugisha, who is deputy secretary for international affairs in FDC, argues that by holding a position on the party’s electoral body, Kabaziguruka had conflicting interests.
In her third petition, filed last week, Mugisha stated; “He (Kabaziguruka) should be disqualified as a candidate in any election in Nakawa constituency, including the primaries for Member of Parliament.”
“There’s conflict of interest as a result of his multiple roles as chairperson Nakawa Division, candidate in Nakawa Division elections, and his continued role as an electoral commissioner until the date of his resignation in the last days of August (2010).”
She also wants all polling area branches, parish and division election results nullified, and a rerun of the whole process ordered.
Failure to do the aforementioned, Mugisha warned Mugarura’s commission, she “will seek an injunction from the courts of law.”
Despite returning her nomination forms on Tuesday (September 28), Mugisha told us that she’ll still pursue the conditions stipulated in her petition. “I’m not going away because I am FDC through and through. I’ll pursue this through the public court of opinion, the party’s disciplinary measures and finally in courts of laws,” she said.
Mugisha, who returned to the country in May after nine years in the US, declared in June that she would contest in Nakawa. The constituency is currently represented by NRM’s Fred Ruhindi, also minister of state for Justice.
However, Mugisha has since her declaration complained about what she calls lack of transparency in the Nakawa electoral process. In her three petitions, she accuses Kabaziguruka of rigging the grassroots polls whose elected leaders form the electoral colleague for the forthcoming primaries. Kabaziguruka denies any foul play.
Last week, FDC vice president Salaamu Musumba advised both Mugisha and Kabaziguruka to wait for the primaries to decide the party’s flag bearer.
“As leaders they should not put individual interests ahead of the party because we’re building structures for FDC,” Musumba said.
‘We are ready to monitor elections’
CRISPY KAHERU is the PROJECT COORDINATOR of the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), a coalition of civil society organisations working to promote electoral democracy and good governance.
He spoke to Political Fever about the challenges the civil society faces ahead of the 2011 elections.
There are so many civil organisations engaged in election monitoring and good governance advocacy but whose impact has not been felt, how different is CCEDU’s approach?
CCEDU is a coalition that brings together various organisations involved in election activites. Just like UWONET (Uganda Women’s Network) brings together women organisations, we are the umbrella for organisations.
Some of these organisations are NGOs others are community-based. We have registered some achievements especially in respect of the fact that we have established a strong front for advocacy of free and fair elections in the country.
The election season is on. Are you engaged in civic education?
We organise voter education basing on the Electoral Commission road map. When the EC presented its proposals for electoral reforms to Parliament, we made a presentation before Parliament, giving them our views about the reforms.
When the EC embarked on voter registration, we urged people to register. The same thing happened when the commission displayed the voters’ register. We told voters to check if their names were on the register.
Is CCEDU then in position to point out EC’s shortcomings when it appears to be eating from the same plate with the electoral body?
We try hand to ensure that they do things the right way. Much as the EC has done a good job, for instance we share the view of the opposition that it is not representative enough.
Under a multi-party setting we believe that all interests of the political players should be represented on the EC. We have also been critical of the EC’s online register because it does not have photographs. We have told them to broaden it and include photos.
Civil society in Uganda is not as vocal or powerful as in Kenya; why do you think this is so?
In Uganda there are many laws that hinder the smooth running of civil society organisations. There is the NGO law for instance which stipulates that organisations must renew their license every year and they should have a representative from security services on their board.
Under such circumstances, it is very difficult for NGOs to be vibrant. They must draw a line on some issues. That said, I think that under the above circumstances, organisations have tried their best to highlight what they think are the major issues that need to be addressed. There are many times when our views on a certain matter have forced government to make certain changes.
Are there any achievements you have registered?
We have managed to bring together about 500 civil society organisations from all over the country. We do not restrict membership; that is why we even intend to register organisations such as KACITA and UTODA. We also presented our views about electoral reforms to Parliament.
What are some of the challenges you face?
The resource envelope is sometimes not enough but we are glad that our members have always chipped in with some contributions even if it is in kind.
How relevant will CCEDU be after the elections?
We shall continue with our advocacy work. Our themes and objectives are broader than monitoring elections. We shall try to hold accountable the newly elected leaders at various levels.
Lukyamuzi eyes Rubaga North
With Beti Kamya out of the Parliament race in Rubaga North, former Rubaga South lawmaker, Ken Lukyamuzi, says he’s spoilt for choice.
“I will either stand in this very constituency or Rubaga North, or some other place, but the decision is yet to be made,” said Lukyamuzi while handing over Shs1 million to Ndeeba youth timber sellers last Friday. The money was a pledge he earlier made to the timber sellers.
Kamya, the president of the Uganda Federal Alliance, is eying the presidency. Lukyamuzi, who doubles as executive director of the crusade for environmental awareness, also launched the saw dust energy saving cooking stoves which he described as part of the solution to climate change.
He appealed to the association comprising more than 600 members to stop felling immature trees. He also urged them to add value to their timber.
The chairman of the timber sellers, Fred Lukwago, asked Lukyamuzi to decide fast on where he intends to stand. Lukwago, on behalf of his colleagues, asked Lukyamuzi to choose a constituency that has more timber dealers because he’s the only one who can help them further their cause of earning a living while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability.
Lukyamuzi was dismissed from the seventh Parliament on the orders of the former Inspector General of Government, Faith Mwondha, for allegedly failing to declare his wealth in accordance with the Leadership Code. He then filed a successful petition in 2007 challenging his dismissal.
The constituency has since been represented by his daughter Susan Nampijja and this could probably be the reason why Lukyamuzi is yet to decide whether to bounce back in the same constituency or leave Nampijja carry on. But Nampijja is reported to be eyeing Issa Kikungwe’s Kyaddondo South.
Besigye sets terms for Kalungi ‘Bill Gates’
FDC president, Dr Kizza Besigye, has told Moses Kalungi, the Makindye Division LC III chairman, that if he wants FDC to back him in 2011, he should first officially join it and then participate in the party primaries.
We have learnt that Kalungi, who sometimes refers to himself as ‘Bill Gates’, had wanted FDC to back him for re-election but Besigye said since other party supporters have expressed interest in the same seat, Kalungi should expect no favours.
If he accepts the conditions, Kalungi will contest against Livingstone Kizito, the FDC chairman for Kampala.
Last week, Kizito told us that he’s ready to take on Kalungi despite the fact that the latter has declared that he has earmarked Shs 500m for his campaigns.
“I have only Shs 50m for my campaign and I’m going to defeat him,” Kizito confidently said.
Kalungi is a known DP supporter but he has recently been linked to the ruling NRM party.
Bushenyi teachers raise eyebrows
Two teachers in Bushenyi have raised eyebrows for joining elective politics. Mutesasira Kaganizo and Elly Muhwezi, still active teachers, were recently elected to the district NRM’s executive committee, something that contravenes the law because they are civil servants.
The law clearly stipulates that civil servants are required to resign their positions at least 90 days before competing for any elective political position. Muhwezi, a teacher at Ruyonza Secondary School and chairman of NRM’s Youth League in Bushenyi district, defended himself by saying he was not on the government payroll.
Mutesasira, on the other hand, a teacher at Kyabugimbi secondary school, is the NRM’s vice chairperson for the district workers and teaches.
Basajjabalaba sibling runs for Bushenyi Municipality
Nasser Basajjabalaba, younger brother of the powerful NRM Entrepreneurs League boss, Hassan Basajjabalaba, has upped his political game by winning the NRM’s flag for the newly created Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality.
Formerly, Basajjabalaba represented Western Uganda Youth in the August House between 2001 and 2006. The 35-year-old says their family has contributed greatly to the development of Bushenyi by establishing Kampala International University (KIU), Western campus, and a teaching hospital, and so he wants to continue building on that.
DP secretary goes for councilor of Kawempe North
Sulaiman Serwadda, the Democratic Party (DP) deputy organising secretary, has decided to stand as an LC-V councilor in Kawempe North to cement the party’s hold on the constituency.
It is understood that Serwadda had an eye on the Kawempe North parliamentary seat but he has been forced to shelve it because the incumbent, Latiff Ssebaggala, will seek re-election for a third term.
Last week, Serwadda told us that he was heeding the DP executive’s counsel not to contest against Ssebaggala. Serwadda believes he will have a go at the seat in 2016, but in the meantime he’s the clear favourite to win the LC-V councilor’s seat after the ruling NRM party failed to field any candidate.
Serwadda was formerly chairman of Uganda Young Democrats (UYD) while at Makerere University between 2001 and 2003. He’s the son of the late Haj Sulaiman Serwadda, a prominent Masaka businessman and football manager.
21-year old promises fireworks in Kampala
Earnest Benjamin Kivumbi of the People’s Development Party (PDP) has a strong message for Kampala Central MP, Erias Lukwago, and other politicians interested in the coveted seat come 2011. “I have come for a real fight and I have the money,” he says.
Kivumbi claims he has so far raised Shs 200 million from friends and family to finance his election campaign. Besides coming from little known PDP, at 21 Kivumbi is so far the youngest contestant in the race.
The other known candidates in the race are NRM’s Muhammad Nsereko, Eddy Yawe (DP) and Lukwago, who are all well above 25 years of age.
Although he’s a rookie in elective politics, Kivumbi says his experience as PDP deputy spokesman for the past one year, has raised his political stature. He says his involvement in opposition demonstrations and different media platforms have brought him closer to the constituency.
“Kampala Central remains for the opposition…I’m young and my party has a clean record,” Kivumbi said in an interview last week.
Meanwhile, PDP last week elected 12 candidates to run for MP in different constituencies. The party’s primaries started on September 15 and are set to close October 15.
Those who emerged PDP flag bearers include Patrick Ssempijja (Lubaga North), Justine Kabembe (Buikwe North), Esther Wangeze (Manafa), Simon Ddumba (Kibuku), Denis Okello (Oyam South), Eve Muntu (Kamuli). Others are Gowa Muhammad (Bukoli North), Patrick Mugisha (Mityana North), Milcha Busingye (Mitooma), Brian Yawe (Kawempe South), and John Mbowa (Kyadondo East).
Akaboozi presenter drops presidential ambitions
Probably heeding the old adage, ‘cowards live longer’, Akaboozi Ku Bbiri presenter, Basajja Mivule, has decided to drop his presidential ambitions.
For the past two years, Mivule who hosts the midmorning talk show (Kalasamayanzi) has been telling his listeners that he’ll run for president in 2011 to “make life better for Uganda.”
But in a complete turnaround, the presenter who has had a couple of run-ins with the law over his outbursts on air, says he won’t contest.
“If NRM can fight each other in their primaries, then what will happen to me if I took on their party chairman? I can’t risk my life because I am sure it will be total chaos,” Mivule told us recently, shaking terribly like he had caught a political fever.