As Uganda gears up for the 2026 general elections, youth leaders are calling on the government to implement electoral reforms to enhance the fairness and inclusivity of the electoral process. Their recommendations were formally presented to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Norbert Mao, during a recent gathering in Kampala. This meeting was attended by representatives from civil society organizations and members of the Electoral Commission.
Ismail Kirya, the chairperson of the Youth Multiparty Forum, led the presentation of proposed electoral reforms. Among the key proposals, Kirya emphasized the need to reduce nomination fees for parliamentary candidates from the current Shs5 million to Shs3 million. Additionally, he suggested a reduction in the nomination fees for special interest groups from Shs3 million to Shs200,000. Other vital reforms include regulating electoral financing during election campaigns and granting the right to vote to prisoners and Ugandans living abroad.
Kirya asserted that the adoption of these proposals could significantly increase youth participation in the upcoming election cycle, which will culminate in the 2026 presidential and parliamentary polls. He pointed out that the substantial financial resources required for political campaigns often hinder youth involvement in the political process.
Stephen Tashobya, a commissioner at the Electoral Commission, confirmed that the Electoral Commission had been in discussions with members of the Multiparty Forum. He acknowledged that the forum’s views closely aligned with the proposals presented by Mr. Kirya, indicating a potential consensus on the need for these reforms.
Minister Mao expressed his concerns about the potential loss of citizen trust in the national electoral system if high nomination fees continued to be a barrier to political participation. In essence, the call for electoral reforms by the youth and their allies in civil society emphasizes the growing importance of addressing these issues ahead of the 2026 general elections in Uganda.
|Proposed Electoral Reforms||Current Situation|
|Reduce nomination fees for MPs||Shs5 million|
|Reduce nomination fees for special interest groups||Shs3 million|
|Regulate electoral financing during campaigns||Unregulated|
|Grant voting rights to prisoners||Not permitted|
|Allow Ugandans in the diaspora to vote||Currently not allowed|