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PHOTOS: Otafiire Blasts European Electoral Democracy, calls for Alternative African Governance System

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kahinda Otafiire has called for adoption of an African-centered system of governance, saying the western model of democracy has failed.

He made these remarks while opening a two-day symposium on strengthening electoral processes in Uganda at Speke Resort, Munyonyo on Wednesday.

Otafiire said whereas majority of Africans are enthusiastic about western style leadership, they ought to draw lessons from their 60 years’ experience as independent nations.

At best, he described periodical elections as waste of resources and that they leave many African nations on the brink of instability each time they fall.

Political leaders attending the event

“Every time there is an election in some place in Africa, the economy goes down, there is general chaos. There is so much spent on monitoring, changing opinions…Investors flee,” Otafiire noted.

Government will spend more than Shs 800bn on the 2021 polls.

Otafiire said there are very few countries like Botswana where elections go on smoothly.

As such, he wondered why Africans were still passionate about the European democratic system yet it is not in tandem with the aspirations of Africans.

“So is it not time for us Africans to sit down and say because God put us in this particular place in the centre of the world, he was not foolish. And made us who we are and we have our own peculiar type of democracy and elections,” he observed.

The event attracted people from all walks of life

“Why do we learn the good practices of those in North America, China, Western Europe and Japan who have built their communities on the back breaking labor of Africa?”

Known for speaking his mind, Otafiire noted that such kind of thinking was partly to blame for the continent’s backwardness.

Hinting on his experience in the 2016 Ruhinda North parliamentary race, Otafiire explained that the process was marred by bribery.

 “They said if you don’t give us money we shall not give you votes. I said you can go to hell,” he narrated as the gathering choked on laughter.

“Now they have come to me saying now you see I want you to come back, I have now told them you go and do the campaigning, me I will do the registration,” Otafiire added.

Otafiire (R) in a chat with EC boss Justice Simon Byabakama

As part of the country’s preparations for the 2020-2021 General Election, the Electoral Commission (EC) is convening a two-day Symposium from 4th to 5th December 2019 to share good practices from the region and beyond, and draw relevant electoral lessons ahead of the 2020-2021 General Elections. The Symposium is being organised with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Uganda.

 Fair polls

On his part, Justice Simon Byabakama the Electoral Commission chairperson contented that free and fair elections were the cornerstone of good governance.

The event attracted Elsie Atafuah, the United Nations Develoment Programme (UNDP) resident representative, Ahmed Isaack Hassan, former head of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) among many other dignitaries.

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