Politicians have slammed government over the decision to postpone the Local Council I and II elections, describing the move as ‘continued presence of undemocratically filled structures at village and parish levels in Uganda.’

The Coordinator of Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), Mr Crispin Kaheru said in a statement: “The lack of government commitment to conduct the LC I and II elections in the most democratic ways can further be seen through the adoption of an archaic law of voting by way of lining-up proposed by government instead of voting by secret ballot in the LC elections.”

The remarks come hardly a day after Daily Monitor exclusively reported the cabinet decision to defer the village elections due to financial constraints. Finance Minister Matia Kasaija yesterday told journalists in Kampala that the elections were deferred because of the hunger problem reported in various parts of the country.

But Mr Joseph Bbosa, who heads a Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) faction, said the move points to disorganisation in the implementation of the budget by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). “One has got suspicion that the present LC situation favours the NRM government because all the present LC officials have been co-opted in the NRM structure. Given the unpopularity of the NRM, that situation would change,” Mr Bbosa said. He added that the delay of the LC elections is intended to keep the status quo under the excuse of lack of funds.

UPC leader, Mr Jimmy Akena said he was not shocked because the resources that were available for budget were not commensurate to what was required by the Electoral Commission. “I have been following the preparations of the LC elections and the requirements by the Electoral Commission closely. It is long overdue but it is important that we have it at some point,” he added.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) mobiliser, Ms Ingrid Turinawe said, the suspension of the LC elections is due to lack of the NRM government will and interest to organise the polls. “Ugandans must confirm that NRM and Mr Museveni are not about democracy. Until we liberate ourselves and our country, then we will have the elections and this will be handled by a new government,” she said. Ms Turinawe said: “If they (government) can use Shs6 billion for handshake but they say that Shs10 billion is unaffordable, then it is a disappointment. Is the NRM party richer than government?”

Mr Kaheru said that CCEDU would explore the legitimate option of approaching the courts to ensure that the illegalities being perpetrated by not conducting these elections do not stand any longer. “We are proceeding to petition cvourt to ensure that the law of voting in the LC I and II elections is amended to provide for secret voting as well as ensure that the elections are held immediately,” he added.

This story was published by the Daily Monitor

The Coordinator of Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), Crispin Kaheru joined stakeholders from across Africa to launch the first ever, electoral integrity scorecard in Sandton Johannesburg, South Africa.The high level meeting brought together over 40 members from election management bodies, civil society, intergovernmental and international bodies working on elections, as well as academicians.

The scorecard has been developed by the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and will be deployed to scientifically test the integrity of elections taking into account all the factors that influence elections throughout an election cycle. It has been developed as a useful tool to enable electoral stakeholders such as observers, governments, and citizens arrive at objective, logical rating about the integrity of an election.

CCEDU’s Crispin Kaheru with the chairperson of the South African Electoral Commission, Glen Mashinini, after a meeting in Sandton, Johannesburg.

This comes as a brand new innovation in the election observation field and it is definitely going to inspire objective assessment of our elections. It introduces another layer to support evidence-based and methodical reporting on electoral processes. In other words, this invention will weed out any form of subjectivity of election observers in commenting or reporting on electoral processes. CCEDU in Uganda is going to be one of the first institutions to test the scorecard – especially in the upcoming by-elections.

Observer groups have in several countries been criticized for being biased and subjective in their reports and conclusions. The meeting that took place at 20 West Capital Hotel on March 15th was also attended by representatives from the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) including: the East African Community (EAC); Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC); Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); and Southern African Development Community (SADC). On the side lines of the forum, Kaheru met with the Chairperson of the South African Electoral Commission, Glen Mashinini to discuss areas of potential collaboration.

- See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1449241/global-electoral-integrity-scorecard-launched#sthash.4JeyKOJN.dpuf

Independent candidates in Aruu North County by-election have threatened to seek a court injunction over the alleged altering of the voters’ register by the Electoral Commission.

Early this month, seven candidates were nominated for the Aruu North parliamentary race. Of the seven, five candidates are independents (Ms Lucy Aciro Otim, Mr David Ojera, Mr Henry Komakech Banya, Mr Francis Nyero Elton Lukale and Mr Justin Oryema Boswell) while two were nominated under political parties; Mr James Nabinson Kidega Nock (NRM) and Mr Benard Obina Ology [DP].

However, the independents argue that the voters’ register is not clean. The register initially had 43,520 voters but the number has since risen to 48,495 four days after the display exercise. One of the independent candidates, Ms Otim, said plans are underway to seek a court injunction so that the by -election is halted ‘if Electoral Commission keeps on altering the register.’

“We have agreed as independent candidates that if EC goes ahead to include the new voters on the old register, then we shall apply for a court injunction to block the poll until a clean register is produced,” Ms Aciro said. Mr Francis Elton Lukale, another independent, accused the EC of adding 4,975 voters onto the register.

Pader District registrar Joseph Omona confirmed the concerns saying the 4,975 new voters were got from National Identification Registration Authority data as they were registered between the time of the last general election and to date. “It is true that a total of 4,975 new voters have been added on the old register increasing the number from 43,520 to 48,495 voters,” he said.

This story was Published by the Daily Monitor

                   CCEDU Officials pause with long term Observers, CCEDU is preparing to send out  a number of these to monitor election processes in the Aruu by-election. 

By Crispy Kaheru 

In preparation for the Aruu North by-election scheduled for 6th April 2017, CCEDU has today 7th March completed training a team of ten (10) Long Term Observers (LTOs) at Biva Hotel, Pader district.

CCEDU's Head of Electoral Process Observation, Mr. Ivan Mwaka led the observer' training which equipped the community monitors with knowledge and technical understanding of tools and methods of election observation within the Ugandan context.

The 8 male and 2 female LTOs are drawn from within CCEDU member institutions from within and around Aruu Constituency in Pader district.

The LTOs will be deployed immediately in each of the 7 sub counties of Aruu including: Atanga, Pajule, Latanya, Laguti, Acholi-Bur, Lapul and Angagura. Over the next four (4) weeks, the LTOs will observe the pre-election, election day and the post election environment.

On Election Day, CCEDU will deploy a contingent of 50 observers to monitor the election day processes.

LTOs will report periodically on both good electoral practices and any malpractices observed.

It is anticipated that the deployment of these community observers will go a long way in deterring  electoral malpractices that have bedevilled the county's past elections.

The writer is the cordinator, Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda  (CCEDU)

First, I will take this opportunity to publically congratulate you Beti Kamya on your appointment as Minister for Kampala Capital City Authority. I remember the last time I passed my congratulations to you was a day after you had been named part of the cabinet that would drive this, my country to a middle income status – as has been severally alluded by your appointing authority. That was in July last year.

I piquantly remember you giving me your assurances about your new appointment over the phone, “Crispy, I will serve in the interest of all Ugandans”, you said to me. Those words still echo in my mind because they were as hope giving as a drop of rain in the Kalahari. I clearly remember your believable tone when we spoke – about seven months ago. I remember when we used to sit at Quality Hill, Nsambya on numerous occasions to sort of diagnose Uganda’s political problem. You always convinced me with your prognosis; that our problem originated from the structure of government and the Constitution that give much powers to the President.

You always argued along the same lines on the Capital Gang show whenever you appeared on Capital FM. I am sure many people (just like myself) believed that you were speaking from the heart. I did believe you; call me naïve, but I honestly did think that you were indeed looking out for the ordinary Ugandan in all that you thought and articulated back then. Well, so far, it turns out you were insincere to me and to all those that dared to trust your eloquent wiles. You probably were only ‘stretching the truth’ and ‘politricking’ (for purposes of sounding civil).

In August last year, I heard you beseech market vendors in Kawempe, Kampala to vote for Museveni as President in 2021. For a person like yourself who I thought held the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda dear to your heart, I was bemused. I was bemused for mainly one reason: that, you being a former legislator, I imagined you were alive to the provisions of Article 102 (b) of the Constitution that bar persons beyond the age of 75 to stand for presidency. You very well know that by 2021, President Museveni would be over the 75-year age cap. I am then tempted to ask your intentions of imploring Ugandans to vote for him in 2021.

Did you intend to cast the old man in bad light that he had interests to contravene the Constitution? Having been given a platform in Cabinet and having received your assurances to serve in the interest of Ugandans, I thought you would begin by tabling your proposal to trim what you have always called “too much powers” in the hands of the presidency. In fact, your speech and actions ever since you became minister have unfortunately been diametrically opposed to all that you seemed to stand for hardly a year ago.

Actually, if I may put this subtly, you have in your own characteristic way resurrected the literal meaning of the word “politician”, . More recently, I have heard this rumour making rounds that as the minister for KCCA, you issued directives to have more than 15,000 vendors at the Nakivubo Park Yard market evicted. If that buzz is anything to go by, then I am very disappointed in the way that eviction was carried out. And let me stress this Ms Kamya, I am not against the eviction per se, but the manner in which it was done.

I saw footage of the vendors in (the now) razed area being harassed, brutalised, humiliated and ostracised by the people that (I would imagine) you directed to execute the eviction. Whereas these vendors may not be the first class citizens that you now are rubbing shoulders with, they too are citizens; citizens trying to eke out an existence in tough economic times. These traders too deserve to be treated like citizens not second or third class subjects. They pay taxes, they are not leeches or parasites.

For heaven’s sake they are vendors, not criminals. I was quite surprised to hear your colleagues including: Ms Amelia Kyambadde, Ms Jenifer Musisi and Mr Erias Lukwago distancing themselves from the eviction saga. Does this mean that you have since adopted a lone working style from the time you entered government? Well, I remember you as a person who would always reach out to people, stimulate conversations and champion amicable approaches. Looks like all this changed. Anyway, it is not too late for you to remember who you are and where you have come from. It is not too late to remember that it was the ordinary, simple people of Kampala that have on several occasions mounted the ladder that often times you have used to climb to those ‘greater political heights’.

For a moment you need to stop and think; and remember that when all is said and done, it is going to be the same hoi polloi that you may be tormenting who will plinth the stepladder for you to safely descend. Well, I don’t intend to rake over the ashes, but If in doubt, kindly ask Mr Henry Banyenzaki or even elder Aggrey Awori (to mention but a few) to jog your brain on how these things work.

Mr Kaheru is the coordinator, Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda 

story was published by the Daily Monitor


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