OCTOBER 19, 2010: NGO Forum Launches Citizens' Manifesto

NGO Forum Launches Citizens' Manifesto

SOURCE: The Monitor

By Emmanuel Mulondo


The Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform (UGMP), a grouping of 17 NGOs, have launched a citizens' manifesto ahead of the 2011 national elections. The citizens manifesto was launched in Kampala on Friday. The forum urged the government to strengthen institutions instead of promoting individualism.

Demands

Also listed as priority citizens' demands in the 124 page document are the need for the country to urgently review the Constitution to resolve historical questions, reinstitute presidential term limits and establish a credible national electoral commission. In particular the manifesto calls for a federal arrangement for both accountability of power and equitable resource sharing.

Speaking during the launch, Bishop David Zak Niringiye, the assistant Anglican bishop of Kampala and also chairman of the African Peer Review Mechanism, said the document was a "cry for better and accountable leadership and a statement of hope to dispel fear for tomorrow."

Mr Arthur Larok, the UGMP national coordinator, said the manifesto initiative was started last year, with direct consultation of 83,000 Ugandans countrywide and indirectly over 10 million Ugandans through the media. The Information and National Guidance Minister Ms Kabakumba Masiko, said much of what was contained in the citizens' manifesto was already in the NRM manifesto while other issues were already being addressed.

Report disputed

She said contrary to the report, the government had reduced absolute poverty from 56 to 31 per cent, an assertion that provoked mummers of disapproval. Bishop Niringiye who presided over the function called on government to "listen to the citizens". He said it was a shame for the country to be engaged in a national jigger eradication campaign. "It is simply a reflection of failure of leadership not just at the local level but also at the national level since the campaign is national. It is a sign that social protection mechanisms have broken down," the bishop said.

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