So, what if the late assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi was taking his children to school, or worse yet, taking his lovely wife to the hospital to experience one of the most amazing and magical wonders of this world – giving birth, what then? Do these cold blooded assassins have any conscience?

What kind of blood flows through their horrid veins, I wonder; it must be much greener and more smelly than foul bile. He was treasured by many but yet loathed by some; it seems that is what charisma does to creatures that have dried raisins for balls; you want to take away power from the people in this country because you have none of your own. Sorry to bust your bubble but the more you lose yourself to this world the more your blood will become greener, filthier and drier in your veins. It’s a pity what’s been happening in this country of late, Uganda seems to be dulling away by the second. First it was the Muslim clerics, then the Senior State Attorney, Joan Kagezi who was shot twice in the neck while her children were with her in the car.

Then it was Mama Fiina’s husband–Maj Muhammad Kiggundu - who was shot dead along with his body guard last November. Then, the massacre in Kasese happened – still not sure exactly what and how it happened, then came the death of a six-month-year old baby in Kawanda early last week – purportedly strangled by a housemaid, who took off to Koboko, only to be arrested after a few days. There have been numerous reports of poisoning of innocent families, school children and so much more! How have we become as shameless as dare devils?

We are no longer slaughtering people at night, because may be we think the Lord above is not watching; now we have resorted to shooting our fellow human beings in broad day light. How dare does one shower someone’s child with more than 30 bullets as if we were celebrating his death-day? What kind of society are we leaving behind for the next generation to inherit? Our children are living in fear of how tomorrow will be, “Will mummy come back home safely from work?” “I hope daddy arrives safely at his workplace, God please protect him.” They are having sleepless nights wondering whether their parents will be safe and not end up like their classmates’ father or mother, because they don’t know how they will be able to live without them. Violence in our society is on the rise.

We all need to have a little more caution and conscience in the lives that we are leading now or else we might destroy one another until there are only skeletons left roaming in this country. We need to protect ourselves in order to progress as a nation, both socially, economically and politically. In order to ensure our security and wellbeing, we need to be mindful of all our leaders, from the bottom to the top of the pyramid. Are they there to protect us or forsake us, to guide us or lead us astray, to fight with us or against us?

Our society and economy have to advance, we need to move forward. Violence has never really been the answer, has it? This brings me to the pending LC 1 and LC 2 elections; that are long overdue. I will still stress that taking us back to lining-up to elect our local leaders instead of secret ballot is archaic and preposterous. It is a recipe to inciting more violence in our society. Many people are already infuriated with the proposal; why do we want to enrage them further?

We all have a right to secrecy when it comes to voting our leaders, I personally wouldn’t want to wake up in the morning to a gruesome and blood-spattered sight of my family, relatives or friends having been slaughtered, poisoned or showered with a million bullets because I decided to line up behind a preferred candidate X. Lining up to vote can only be one thing – disastrous. No one should have to live in fear of being slaughtered or murdered for doing a good thing like Kaweesi was doing, No way! The Pearl of Africa better clean up its act immediately, and fast, before we all become wandering skeletons in our own land.

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

This story was published by The Daily Monitor

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.

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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)


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