The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah has allayed the fears of Parliamentarians at the European Parliament, on the state of affairs in Uganda following the recently concluded Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Uganda.
Rt Hon Oulanyah, who led a delegation of four MPs including Hon Sanjay Tanna (Tororo Municipality), Hon Christine Bako Abia (Arua Municipality) and Hon Rebecca Nabbanja, (Kibaale District) to the 41st Session of the African, Carribean Pacific Parliamentary (ACP) Assembly taking place in Brussels, Belgium, from March 15th – 19th, was responding to a report of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament (EP) Election Observer Missions to Uganda for the 2016 General Elections, which was presented to the Committee on Development by the leader of the EU Observer Mission to Uganda, Eduard Kukan.
In his report Kukan highlighted several areas that the observers felt were lacking appropriate explanations, such as the late delivery of voting materials, the restriction of social media platforms, the Electoral Commission pronouncements before the tallying process was complete and the Uganda Police invasion of the FDC offices immediately after the elections. “Not much of our 2011 recommendations report have been implemented,” Kukan said.
But Hon Oulanyah allayed these fears by stating that the Parliament of Uganda always took electoral reforms very seriously: “I have not known of any elections in Uganda that have not been preceded by reforms,” he affirmed. Oulanyah also responded to the specific questions that the report had listed.
On the allegations of unbalanced media coverage, Oulanyah stated that the media in Uganda was highly diverse and private sector driven. “The Government neither applies censorship and content supervision, nor exercises editorial control, and did not do so during the concluded election,” he explained.
Addressing disenfranchisement of women in politics, Oulanyah reminded the house that Uganda was ahead of many European countries, in its goal to attaining parity.
On the numerous complaints and appeals that had been raised in the report, he outlined the preparedness of the judiciary to handle electoral petitions . “The Courts of Law will determine whether the election results reflected the will of Ugandans,” he said.
Following Oulanyah’s submission, several members raised positive aspects surrounding Uganda. “Your presence here is a testament of the importance that Ugandan people attach to this process.”
Mr Kukan hailed the government for its commitment to a peaceful democratic process. “The country has remained stable in light of Uganda’s strategic position in the Great Lakes area,”he said adding: “We wish to assent that the active role of Uganda in the region is appreciated.”