The Kabula Member of Parliament, James Kakooza who is representing Uganda at the Pan African Parliament in South Africa, has called for political tolerance in the continent.
Kakooza during the Pan African Parliament debate in Midrand, South Africa, stated that there is need for politicians and political parties to be accommodative and not to view their opponents as enemies.
“We need to emphasize this and have people stop viewing persons in other parties as their enemies but take it as a matter of principle and choice to belong to a different party,” said Kakooza.
The former State Minister for Primary Health Care and the 2005 mover of scrapping of presidential age limit, Kakooza, also appealed for better civic education ahead of elections to provide the requisite information and knowledge about the process, candidates and parties.
PAP MPs debated the report on political parties building vibrant and inclusive democracies in Africa on Thursday and recommended that political parties should continue to be the champions of the rule of law and strong advocates of the resolution of existing electoral conflicts.
The report was presented by the Zambia’s Aboubacar Sidiki Kone, the Chairperson of the Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution.
African MPs observed that informal actors with interests in the incumbency or regime change, the influence of foreign interests, and an unlevelled ground between the opposition and ruling parties are some of the challenges faced in organizing and holding elections in Africa.
In the debate, members said that although some progress has been made in democracy in Africa, a lot still has to be done to reduce the violence exhibited at election time.
Meanwhile Prof. Ogenga Latigo, also a member of PAP, commended South Africa for holding a successful election last week that was won by the African National Congress.
Members blamed the high contestation and level of violence during elections in most African countries on the ‘winner takes it all’ system, where losers are not considered in the new government.
They also urged political parties to develop policies aimed at fostering inclusivity especially in national resources, public services, job opportunities and public contracts when forming governments. They also recommended that parties develop internal affirmative action policies that will ensure that women and youth are adequately included in the political process.