Ring fencing political posistions not healthy for Uganda’s Democracy and Gender equality:
On October 2, 2015 the Electoral Commission announced the amendments passed by Parliament of Uganda to Presidential and Parliamentary Acts in preparation for the 2016 elections. Among the announcements was the increment in nomination fees for aspirants in the 2016 elections. Barely two months to the nomination of members of Parliament and Local Councilors MPs passed nomination fees which in the opinion of women of Uganda is intended to bar many upcoming women and youth from accessing political positions of leadership. According to the amendments, MPs are expected to pay nomination fees of 3,000,000/- up from 200,000/- in 2011.
It is a fact that most women and youth are challenged by limited resources and face an uphill task to raise money to contest in an election. The majority of civil servants are teachers some of whom are preparing to contest in the forthcoming elections. On average, a secondary school teacher in Uganda takes home about 450,000/= per month while their counterparts in primary school earn about 250,000/=. The newly passed nomination fee for MPs and local councilors is simply out of reach for the majority of Ugandans who would want to serve the country. It is common knowledge that aspirants must prepare for their election and fundraise.
However, this can be done more easily if candidates are not caught un- aware about critical items they must raise money for like nomination fees especially within an unrealistic time frame. In addition, political parties which at times assist candidates with nomination fees do not have resources since majority hardly receive any funds from their members.
The President of Uganda H.E. Y.K Museveni has on a number of occasions professed the importance of quality men and women in leadership. In 1995, affirmative action was passed by Parliament to give women, youth and people with disabilities an opportunity to participate in leadership by redressing imbalances created by history and tradition. This law therefore goes against these principles and is a back track on the importance of providing equal opportunities for men and women in leadership bearing in mind the limited economic opportunities in Uganda.
We are therefore calling on all political parties to reject this amendment in its totality.
We call for a revision of the amendments in order to enhance participation of citizens especially women and youth in the forth-coming elections.
UNITED WOMEN CAN!