The national coordinator of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party Gen Mugisha Muntu thinks it’s illusional to believe that the 2021 general elections will be free and fair.
According to Gen 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 the government.
He noted 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 the 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,” Gen Muntu said while addressing journalists at the offices of Uganda Journalist Association in Kawempe in Kampala on Thursday.
Gen 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,” Gen Muntu said.
He said his party will 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 needs to be trusted among them,” he said.
Adding that “Even when we launched ANT, 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 grassroots because we believe that the stability of the coalition, will depend on the stability of the component parts.”
Mr. Paul Bukenya, the senior public relations officer Electoral Commission dismissed Gen Muntu’s fears that the Commission will not organize a free and fair election as a result of unamended reforms. He said the Commission would organize the elections under the existing legal framework, adding that they can’t wait for everything that has been proposed to be translated into law.
Mr. Bukenya asked all political leaders to build confidence and cooperate with the 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,” Mr. Bukenya said.
While delivering their judgment in the Amama Mbabazi Versus Museveni and two 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.