- Uganda's opposition parties are demanding reforms in the electoral commission as the country prepares for the presidential polls in 2011.
The statement presented to parliament yesterday by Forum for Democratic Change president, Kizza Besigye, suggests major facelifts in the way elections are conducted, the announcement of winners, while also calling for the reinstatement of the presidential term limits.
Parliament abolished a constitutional limit on presidential terms in 2005, paving the way for Yoweri Museveni to seek a third elected term and alarming some Western donors.
The opposition parties also want to be involved in the appointment the Electoral Commission members in order make the commission more independent. Currently, the selection of commissioners is solemnly vested in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) with approval of parliament.
Dr Besigye said an independent and impartial Electoral Commission is central to holding free and fair elections.
“The President should not have undue influence in appointing members of the commission because of the continuing perception that they owe their allegiance to him and that he can dismiss any of them even under dubious circumstances,” he told local reporters.
The opposition parties also want an end to the use of military and other security agencies in the elections as well as equitable access to both private and public media during the elections.
The parties also demanded for an end to army representation in parliament and the establishment of a code of conduct for security agencies to regulate their activities during election time and the end to the militarisation of elections.
Uganda was notorious for its human rights abuses, first during the military dictatorship of Idi Amin from 1971-79 and then after the return to power of Milton Obote, who had been ousted by Amin in the 1970s and 1980s.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.