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Last week, the media and the public was awash with the news that the Attorney General has finally tabled the electoral reforms following the Supreme Court’s recommendation of the same. I took this news with a pinch of salt and I was not shocked at the details. The proposals that the AG is to table are the direct obverse of what the Supreme Court recommended and as such I still think that the Attorney General is still in Contempt of Court if he tables different reforms other than the ones that Supreme Court recommended.
The Supreme Court recommended 10 reforms ranging from providing an equal leveled field by all presidential candidates in terms of accessing state owned media, extending the days in which to file a petition to 60 days, integrating the use of technology in election management among others.
The Game Changers-a loose coalition of young Ugandan Activists took up the task of reminding the Attorney General through a petition of the fast approaching deadline of 2 years in which he was supposed to table the reforms and this fell on deaf ears not until an Application was made to the Supreme Court to hold the Attorney General in Contempt of Court and he was thus given two months to table these reforms.
The proposed reforms from the Attorney General’s office are in toto selfish and they are to serve the interest of one party and do not in any way reflect the Supreme Court Recommendations neither any citizen processes such as the Compact on electoral reforms among others. This in my view is a deviation from the Supreme Court and the Attorney General theretofore is still in Contempt of Court.
What we desire is a comprehensive and honest process of having these electoral reforms managed and concluded in time for the 2021 elections. There are many reforms gathering dust on shelves and it is prudent that Government extensively considers the much needed preforms in wide consultation of the citizenry in order to have a credible election.
Michael Aboneka is a Partner at Thomas & Michael Advocates