Uganda: Opposition threatens polls boycott in 2016

Uganda’s opposition parties have threatened to boycott presidential and parliamentary elections due next year.

A final road map for Uganda’s 2016 electoral exercise released Wednesday by the country’s electoral commission has come under attack after the opposition criticised the announced election dates. Its also demanding for an independent electoral commission.

The opposition parties have rejected the commission’s neutrality, claiming it is biased and partial to President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling party and demanded it be replaced.

“In the electoral law reforms proposals we said that a new electoral commission, appointed on an individual’s merit must be put in place to organise the 2016 elections,” northern Uganda opposition parties spokesman, Felix Ochaya said.

“We will boycott the elections if they do not listen to our concerns.

“We have all along been complaining about a biased electoral commission that has led to opposition losing elections in the past.”

Ochaya, who says it is unlikely the current electoral commission will be replaced before the elections, warned that the opposition is prepared to boycott the exercise and also hold demonstrations.

But ruling party official, James Mugasha says they are not concerned with the opposition’s threat to boycott the 2016 elections.

“It is up to them to decide what they want. All I know is that whether they boycott or not, we have the numbers and we will win.”

According to the commission’s estimates about 255 billion Uganda shillings ($90 million) will be needed to organise the elections.