By JOREEN NABUTTO
Opposition politicians are exploring several options as they continue to battle the Electoral Commission (EC) on the revised election roadmap, which sets June 22 to July 21, as the period for political parties to identify their flag bearers.
According to the EC new roadmap, nominations for all elective positions will be held between August 5, and November 3, starting with Special Interest Groups and ending with presidential candidates.
The EC said they took the decision after the Covid-19 outbreak disorganised the initial roadmap.
However, Opposition parties have protested, saying they were not consulted before the final decision was made. They are now considering all available options, including a court action, if the EC does address their grievances.
Mr Patrick Amuriat Oboi, the president of Forum for Democratic Change Party, said the Opposition have options to deal with the situation.
He suggested that government declares a State of Emergency under Article 77 of the Constitution to extend the tenure of the current Parliament, which according to him, will lead to a transitional government to address the impasse. “The Article does not make room for extension of life of presidency. We will want to sponsor a Bill for constitutional amendment to introduce a transitional government to address the impasse. The next option is to challenge the roadmap in courts of law,” he said.
Mr Amuriat also said FDC will discuss and review its participation in the 2021 General Election if the EC continues to ignore Opposition concerns.
“We could boycott the election, but that is not for me to decide as an individual. The party will have to discuss that and make a decision. We can also force the elections not to happen through civic action,” he said.
Mr Amuriat also said the roadmap is unfair to all political parties because it is impossible to implement in its current form.
“They cannot expect us to elect our party flagbearers within one month. For example in FDC, to get our presidential candidates in the previous elections, we spent three months,” Mr Amuriat said.
Ms Alice Alaso, the secretary of Alliance for National Transformation, said the party will engage the EC in dialogue but should that option fail, they would proceed to the next stage, which she did not disclose.
“We are writing to them today. We want them to review the roadmap and allow a better timeline for party primaries. Other processes will follow if negotiations fail,” she said.
Mr Mukasa Mbidde, the vice president of the Democratic Party, said they will start with dialogue, but warned that DP would pursue legal action if the EC refuse to address their grievances.
“I first want to believe that the Commission is independent and that they will listen to our demands. However, we shall institute legal action if things fail….,” Mr Mbidde said.
The EC is yet to respond to the Opposition. On Wednesday, Mr Sam Rwakoojo, the EC Secretary, said whatever they are doing is backed by law and they would proceed with the revised roadmap.