In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni’s
decision to re-appoint Badru Kiggunda as chair of the country’s Electoral
Commission has been met by violent protests from opposition supporters.
fired tear gas Tuesday at opposition demonstrators against the reappointment.
Chair of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Youth League called
Kiggundu an enemy of the people and demanded his resignation for incompetence.
Kiggundu was accused of rigging the 2006 elections in favor of President
Museveni. But he told VOA his commission is proud
of the way it handled Uganda’s past elections.
are a very new nation in multi-party democracy. This is something our part of
the world is not yet used to in terms of what it means to compete. When the
adversaries win in bi-elections which were conducted over the years, then I’m
the best kid on the block. But when they lose an election or a bi-election,
then I’m the worst kid,” he said.
described as naïve demands by the chair of the opposition FDC Youth League for Kiggunda
to resign. He said the group is not his appointing authority.
I received the letter. It is not protesting. It is actually demanding that I
hang up my towel as of yesterday, and I thought that was naïve because that
youth group is not my appointing authority,” Kiggunda said.
said Uganda has a legal framework, and if the opposition is dissatisfied with
his reappointment, then they should take legal recourse.
rejected criticism that his reappointment by President Museveni means that his commission
is likely to favor the government in the event of an electoral dispute.
all the bi-elections which we have run, I have never had to side with a side
which never won. I have always declared whoever came through as the winner.
I’ve been as straight forward; I have been as ethical. I won’t do anything
contrary to the law,” Kiggunda said.
FDC leader Kizza Besigye has called for electoral reforms before the 2011
elections, including the appointment of an independent elections commission and
the removal of the military from monitoring elections.
said his commission has also put forth its own electoral reforms, some of them
similar to those suggested by Mr. Besigye.
“After consulting and deliberating with many
other stakeholders, I compiled about 18 areas of possible amendments and
submitted them to government two years ago. The proposals which Dr. Besigye is
talking about were made three months ago. Some of them are like mine, but not
all of them,” Kiggunda said.
said he hopes the Ugandan government would address the proposed reforms by
opposition critics have suggested that unless Uganda makes progress in
electoral reforms, it could see post-election violence similar to Kenya and
said he is concerned about the possibility of post-election violence, but that
he doesn’t believe that what happened in Kenya can happen in Uganda.
have a totally different legal environment. In our country, petitions, when
arise, they are settled in court. In many of those countries, petitions are not
heard of,” he said.
said his commission has rolled out an electoral roadmap which would ensure that
the 2011 elections would be free and fair.