Ugandan opposition launches campaign against gov’t engineered constitutional amendments




A new campaign dubbed ‘Citizens Reform Now’ has been launched in Uganda by opposition political parties in protest of constitutional amendments presented to Parliament by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government early this week.

The parties collectively described the amendments as shallow and falling short of the people’s expectations.

The campaign is aimed at rallying Members of Parliament, and citizens to reject the amendments presented in the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2015 published in the Uganda Gazette on 17th April.

In the amendments, the government suggested a change in the name of the Electoral Commission to Independent Electoral Commission, a suggestion which differs from demands to disband the current Badru Kiggundu chaired commission for a new independent body, not appointed by the President.

The bill also prescribes the procedure for removal of members of the Independent Electoral Commissions from office through a tribunal appointed by the President. However, opposition groups described the constitutional amendments as a mockery of justice.

Dr. Kiiza Besigye, the Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) President says citizens ought to be empowered by the demands for substantive electoral reforms that will guarantee free and fair elections in 2016.

“Through the new campaign, citizens will demand for the formation of a new Electoral Commission, the adoption of a new voter’s register, which is not generated from the National ID system,” the 2-time former presidential candidate and a fierce critic of the current government said

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago says a mere change of name for the Electoral Commission cannot empower the commission to organize free and fair elections.

Gen. David Sejusa, the former head of intelligence services who now works under Free Uganda Movement, a political pressure group also urges political parties to form a united front against the proposals.