EC wants advance voting for Police, journalists

Police officers, electoral officials and journalists among other professionals will vote ahead of other voters if the reforms to the electoral laws being proposed by the Electoral Commission  (EC) are accepted.

The EC hopes to enforce the changes in the 2021 general elections, according to the electoral body’s deputy spokesman, Paul Bukenya.

Bukenya told journalists at Parliament that among its proposals for reforms in the electoral laws, the EC wants to provide for early voting to allow professionals who are always busy on the voting day such as police officers, journalists and election officers among others to vote in person before the election day.

“We realize that some people, because of the nature of their work on polling day, they aren’t able to go to their polling stations to cast their vote and yet they are registered voters, and, the Commission prints ballot papers for them. Eventually, the journalists, election officials, security officers and other stakeholders don’t participate, it becomes a waste of money first of all, and also, they have a right to vote,” Bukenya said.

He said, the EC welcomed the efforts by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to have the Executive table the necessary electoral reforms early enough before the electioneering period for the 2021 elections sets in.

This, Bukenya said, will help in the effective planning and implementation of the 2020/2021 strategic plan and election roadmap.

“If there are any amendments, they can be catered for. It is better to plan now than sit and wait and even speculate. It is very good in terms of preparation and it will also prompt stakeholders to take on their responsibilities,” Bukenya said.

Last Wednesday, Kadaga has directed the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otaffire to make a statement in Parliament on when his Ministry intends to table the electoral reforms in line with the Supreme Court orders in the judgement of the Amama Mbabazi Vs Yoweri Museveni election petition 2016.

Kadaga said that Parliament has for the last two sessions been expecting the reforms but the executive has remained adamant.

“No response has been given. Obviously, I think they expect as usual to stampede this House. Sometimes in that stampede, we may not make perfect laws; it shows that they [Executive] don’t respect this House, so even when we say bring, they aren’t interested,” Kadaga said.

Kadaga said that the effects of the delays by the Executive have been pushed to Parliament because the public believes the Legislative body hasn’t acceded to the direction of the Supreme Court.