The EC chairman, Eng. Badru Kiggundu newvision By Vision reporter

Civil Society Organisations have proposed amendments to the electoral laws ahead of 2016 elections.

CSO under their umbrella body, the Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) want Electoral Commission renamed the Independent Electoral Commission.

They have also called for a detailed process of identifying and selecting persons to be appointed as members of the commission.

The CSO propose that powers be given to the Judicial Service Commission to spearhead the process of identifying fourteen persons and recommend them for appointment to the EC.

They want the JSC to invite the political parties and organisations, the professional bodies or associations and the general public to nominate persons for consideration for appointment.The constitution provides for members of the EC to be appointed by the President with the
approval of parliament.

The CSOs argue that there is no clear procedure on the identification of the persons appointed as members of the commission which kills the trust among various stakeholders.

"Several participants in the process including g political parties and the general public need to be consulted when making selection of members to be appointed at EC," the CSOs noted.

CEDU will on Tuesday unveil their proposals to Members of Parliament.

CCEDU has been part of various consultative discussions with different stakeholders on possible electoral reforms in the run up to the 2016 general elections.

In line with its advocacy work, CCEDU has drafted model amendment Bills and a briefing paper around the reform of the Electoral Commission of Uganda (EC).

One of the candidates who had been nominated to contest for the Bukanga MP seat on an independent ticket has withdrawn from the race.

Asiimwe Jackline Matovu the daughter to the late Gregory Matovu reportedly withdrew from the race following a meeting with the NRM vice chairperson Ali Hajji Moses Kigongo

Ali Hajji Kigongo on Wednesday arrived in Isingiro Distict to reconcile the warring factions within the NRM party that have led a number of candidates who contested in the party primaries to bounce back as independents.

Withdrawals must be filed in a timely manner with the appropriate authority before the electoral commission prints the ballot papers. A candidate that files a withdrawal request after the Ballot papers have been printed must be penalised through a hefty charge which should go to compensating the Electoral Commission's expenses towards running messages announcing the withdrawal of one's candidature.

In Buhweju for instance, we saw the EC polling officials labouring to explain to each of the voters not to cast a vote for Alisson Byamukama who had voluntarily withdrawn her candidature, barely a week to the polling day. This inadvertent voter education must be remunerated, and the cost must be born by the candidate who voluntarily pulled out of the race.

Any pending court proceedings on candidates must be resolved quickly before candidates go in the thick and thin of campaigning and within good time before the election date.

Fifty one years of self-governance, Uganda is now confronted by the eminent reality of an impending political transition. How this transition process is managed will significantly have a bearing on whether Uganda leaps forward or digresses into political turmoil just like is the case in Egypt today. Because the political transition in Egypt paid as much attention to the person of Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak as little as it did to the broader political configuration, the result definitely had to be nothing less than a 'still birth' transition. Uganda right now stands at a very awkward moment when most of its regional neighbours have set the tone for political transition through making constitutional and electoral changes.

Kenya just completed its political transition process in August, 2010 with the adoption of their new constitution which has, for many been seen as the game changer in Kenya's politics. Apart from dealing with the issue of equality and inclusive citizenship, it reformed its electoral system, instituted mechanisms for judicial and land reforms and attempted to review the security sector of Kenya. Besides the structural constitutional changes, Kenya today celebrates the peaceful March 2013 general election held under the auspices of the new herald constitution and electoral law. Critical about this post constitutional review election is the fact that it led to a peaceful transfer of power from President Mwai Kibaki to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

An independent candidate in the Buhweju by-elections has pulled out in a move that sets the pace for a face-off between the ruling NRM and opposition FDC.

The Electoral Commission (EC) has issued tough guidelines for candidates in the race for district woman MP, which is slated for this week on Thursday.

EC Chairperson, Badru Kiggundu, told a news conference in Kampala that he received notice of the withdrawal of Alison Byamukama from the race.

"Please note that this notice [of withdrawal] was officially received on Monday, October 28," he said.

"The commission advises the electorate not to cast a vote in favour of Alison Byamukama; a poster to notify voters about the withdrawal of the candidate will be pinned at each of the 120 polling stations in the district," Kiggundu said.