General Mugisha Muntu, the National Coordinator of the Alliance for National Transformation-ANT party, says he isn’t any illusion that the 2021 general elections will be free and fair.
According to Muntu, there are many contested issues like electoral reforms that were proposed by the Supreme Court after the 2016 elections that haven’t been addressed by government.
He notes that even the proposed constitutional and political reforms by opposition political parties, NGOs and civil society to level the playing ground haven’t been considered by government.
“I think the only amendment, which was done was to add the word independent to the Electoral Commission. But in substance, no substantive amendment has been done,” Muntu said
He was addressing journalists at the offices of Uganda Journalist Association in Kawempe in Kampala. Muntu argued that given the unfairness in elections, unless political parties are well organized and coordinated, they cannot overwhelm the sitting regime.
“Our belief is when the time is right , when opposition parties are well organized and well-coordinated in spite of the ground not being unleveled, we can overwhelm the regime, in spite of the impediments that are in our way,” Muntu said.
Muntu said his party will to work with other parties to form a coalition but hastened to add that for any coalition to be successful, there needs to be stability among the components that form the coalition and trust. “We believe that for any coalition to be effective there needs to be stability among the component parts that form a coalition, and there need to be trust among them,” he said.
Adding that, “Even when we launched Alliance for National Transformation, we maintained the same. We think that while we are in the processes of discussing how to from a coalition, we should work on the stability within the component parts within the parties that will form a coalition, and two we should organize ourselves so that we are strong at the grass roots, because we believe that the stability of the coalition, will depend on the stability of the component parts.”
Paul Bukenya, the Senior Public Relations Officer Electoral Commission dismissed Muntu’s fears that the Commission will not organize a free and fair election as a result of unamended reforms. He says the Commission will organise the elections under the existing legal frame work, saying they can’t wait for everything that has been proposed to be translated into law.
Bukenya asked all political leaders to build confidence and cooperate with Electoral Commission. “What we want to advise political leaders is to build confidence in the electorate and mobilize voters to vote, because at the end of the day, these people are the ones who vote.” Bukenya said
While delivering their judgment in the Amama Mbabazi Versus Museveni and 2 Others Presidential Election Petition in 2016, Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe made pronouncements about outstanding electoral reforms that are meant to guarantee free and fair elections.
They included extending the filing and determination period of presidential election petitions to 60 days to enable the concerned parties and court to adequately prepare and present their case, regulation of public officials in elections and punishment of media houses, which refuse to grant equal airtime to all presidential candidates and prohibition of donations during elections among others.