The Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), Uganda's leading civil society coalition on democracy and elections, hereby wishes the citizens of Kenya, a peaceful and fair election on 4th March, 2013.
As a neighbor, we note the historically close social, economic and political linkages that our two nations have shared. Kenya is one of Uganda's biggest trading partners and therefore Ugandan citizens have more than a passing interest in a peaceful outcome of the Kenya elections.
CCEDU promotes electoral democracy and has so far dispatched observer missions to all the 12 bye-elections held in Uganda since the February 2011 general elections in which we also played a key role. Additionally, we also dispatched observer missions to the Sierra Leone and Ghana elections of 17th November and 7th December 2012 respectively.
In accordance with our mutual interests and as a standard international practice, we will also be dispatching an eight-member observer team to the Kenya elections from 26th February to 6th March, 2013.
The CCEDU observer team will mainly focus on the integrity and transparency of the electoral process including focus on active citizen participation in election activities. In addition, the team will also document standards and practices of pre-election campaigns, voting day and post-election activities with a view of capturing lessons and best practices.
Based on our experiences across the board, our observer mission will prioritize focus on the process of counting, collation and declaration of results which we note as a regular trigger of disputes in elections.
Our contingent is comprised of election experts drawn from various indigenous civil society organizations in Uganda. The team is composed of five (5) men and three (3) women.
Within CCEDU's standard focus of achieving international electoral benchmarks, the observer team will be informed and guided by the international and continental principles for credible elections namely, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance and the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.
While in Kenya, the CCEDU team will hold meetings with a wide array of stakeholders, including the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya (IEBC), political parties, candidates, civil society organizations, donors, electoral assistance NGOs as well as domestic and international election observer groups.
Currently, CCEDU is partnering with other regional and continental groups including the West African Election Observers Network (WAEON), and Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) to support country based election observation efforts. In the forthcoming Kenya general election, CCEDU will work in collaboration with the Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO).
Lastly, whereas opinion towards the forthcoming election seems to be mainly slanted towards predictions of election violence as witnessed in 2007/8, we as CCEDU seek not to judge Kenya based on this past horrendous occurrence. We appreciate that this election is being held under a new legal context and time. We therefore would like to predict and wish Kenya a free and fair election, devoid of violence.
Finally, we look to Kenya's electoral process as a good practice from which Uganda can learn from as it prepares for its 2016 general elections.
Livingstone Sewanyana (Mr.)
Chairperson, Executive Committee
Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU)
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)
Human Rights House
Block 15, Plot 1853 Lulume Road Nsambya
P.O. Box 11027 Kampala, Uganda
Web site: www.fhri.or.ug/civic-education