Kamya Referendum Push Faces Demise

Beti Kamya’s campaign to raise at least 1.3 million signatures to warrant a national referendum vote on federalism and other political reforms may come to naught.

Kamya, the president of the Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA), admitted recently that her drive had run into serious logistical and financial problems.

“I can’t abandon it [referendum], but we are only constrained by logistical and financial resources,” she told The Observer, on September 4.

In December 2012, Kamya, a former Lubaga North MP, proposed a change from the current unitary form of governance to federalism through a national referendum. Consequently, UFA started collecting signatures to petition the Electoral Commission to organize a referendum vote to choose between federalism and maintaining the all-powerful unitary system.

According to the Constitution, resolutions or petitions on changing the political system can only be handled in the fourth year of any parliament, which, in this case, is 2015. This means the proposed referendum can only happen next year. For a referendum petition to stand, it must be backed by signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters. Kamya claims she needs at least 400,000 more signatures to force a referendum.

“A referendum is the only weapon we have to redirect the politics of this country. We can’t do it through parliament, because [MPs] can easily be compromised only people power can do it,” she said.

But Kamya believes her cause has been failed by a lack of political cooperation from other political actors.

“I thought other political actors, mainly the opposition politicians, would also come on board, but they didn’t,” she said.

“Though there is no time limit, if we don’t conduct a referendum in 2015, then our effort will have been futile,” she added. Already, Kamya missed the April 2014 deadline she had set to file the requisite petition with the Electoral Commission because she lacked the required number of signatures.

“It is unfortunate that we [UFA] have not been able to beat the deadline due largely to financial constraints. Maybe we shall push it to June or after,” she said.

Source : The Observer