Very many political analysts in Uganda have opined that the current Electoral Commission cannot conduct free and fair election. There seems to be wide agreement that there is need to have an election-management body that fits into the modus operandi or aspirations of the multi-party political dispensation which we embraced in 2005. We should not forget that the current EC was introduced through efforts of a single party; therefore, the perception that it is partial, prevails. This has not been helped by the manner of appointment of commissioners of the EC prescribed in the 1995 Constitution which gives the president the power to appoint the commission and also the power to fire it without recourse to any other body. That is why any right-thinking Ugandan should support the bid by Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) to amend articles of the Constitution that talk about the composition of the EC as well as some sections of the Electoral Commission Act.
The Constitution provides for the EC to be independent in the performance of its duties, yet the same article does not state explicitly that members of the EC must be impartial and should discharge their constitutional functions without fear, favour or prejudice.
It is very possible for a member of the commission to be prejudiced even when they are not under the control of any person or authority.
Secondly, even though the Constitution provides for members of the EC to be appointed by the president with the approval from Parliament, there is no clear procedure on identification of the persons to serve or to be appointed members of the commission.
We must not forget that there are several participants in the electoral process, including the political parties and general public whose confidence in the electoral body is critical to the credibility of the elections.
Currently, they are not consulted or involved in the identification of people to be appointed as EC commissioners. In my view we do not need to re-invent the wheel to reform the EC. We can take the route that Kenya used to reform its electoral body.