On 31st March 2019 the President of the Republic of Uganda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni assented to the Human Rights Enforcement Act, 2019. The Act guarantees the entrenchment of human rights in the way the Uganda Police Force enforces law and order. The Act emphasizes personal liability of Police Officers who violate the rights of Ugandans.
Over the years, from several human rights reports, the Police has largely been implicated for perpetuating torture, violating the right to fair hearing and on some occasions locked up suspects beyond the mandatory 48 hours.
The journalists under their umbrella body Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ ), Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) and the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association have issued statements calling for the expeditious inquiry into the cases of journalists who were beaten up in the course of duty as they covered the Makerere University riots last week and this week.
The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), wishes to add its voice on the position of the journalists that a free press is a hallmark of democracy, which the Police should be seen to promote not to curtail. CCEDU calls upon the wider public and all people interested in the growth of democracy in Uganda to support the media in their call for fair hearing. Police officers who brutalized journalists in their course of duty must be brought to book.
Today, November 4, 2019 a Kingdom TV journalist, Kiberu Siraji was badly beaten up and taken to an unknown destination by the Police. The Journalists mounted pressure on the police for two hours to secure his release. Kiberu is a not a lone case, over 10 journalists have been beaten up and locked up in Police cells in unknown places, for reporting about the Makerere University strike. The beating of journalists is unfortunate and a breach of the Constitutional rights guaranteed in Chapter 4 of the Ugandan Constitution.
CCEDU demands that all Police officers who engage in acts of brutalizing journalists be subjected to the due-course of the law immediately. The state should not be seen to condone human rights abuses, when there is a legal regime to curtail abuses.
The Human Rights Enforcement Act seeks to restore dignity, reputation and the rights of the victims who have been abused and those of close persons connected to them. The Act also seeks to ensure that there is no continued violation of human rights and freedoms.
Based on the press freedom guarantees enshrined in the Constitution of Uganda and the Human Rights enforcement Act, CCEDU demands that the rights and freedoms of journalists be restored by expeditiously carrying out an inquiry into the abuses meted on journalists. Government should also reaffirm its commitment to defend the rights of the press unequivocally.
For God and My Country
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By Charity. Kalebbo. Ahimbisibwe
On Friday, October 11, 2019, I met a group of young people called Vijana in Makerere university to discuss the 2021 elections.
We discussed a wide-range of issues mainly concerning youth participation, the highly monetized elections and how that impedes youth participation in elections and we ended by talking about the Electoral Commission National Voter update.
I asked the young people if they knew that on November 21, 2019 the Electoral Commission will commence on the National Voter Update? They said they had not heard about it.
It then occurred to me that it was not only the youth who had not heard about this very significant activity of the electoral
calendar, but many voters’ at large.
I impressed it upon them, that update of the national voters’ register is the
determining factor of who will vote and who won’t. The update provides an opportunity for citizen’s to confirm their names on the register.
On Friday October 11, 2019, at Imperial Royale Hotel, the Electoral Commission held a national stakeholders workshop, where they explained to participants what the national voter update entails. After the national stakeholder’s workshop, the EC held the regional workshops from Monday October 14, 2019.
These were conducted for two days.
After the regional stakeholders’ workshops on the voter register update, the Electoral Commission will carry out village mobilization
campaigns between October 18, and October 20, 2019.
The EC will then conduct village council meetings between
October 21, 2019 and October, 28, 2019.
We can all help ourselves, by pushing out this message to our village WhatsApp forums and through various village meetings.
The update process will give an opportunity to citizens to scrutinize and identify their particulars in the Electoral Commission database.
What normally happens is that people think this process is not important because they have voted before and, therefore, should be on the National register; this is a wrong assumption.
Each election comes with an update and display process, because some people would have died, others might want to change polling stations, others might want to vote from their places of birth and all these processes cannot be achieved except you personally make it to the voter update.
The update process will be all encompassing for the youth, who elect their leaders through the electoral college system, the people with disabilities who have a special representative in parliament and all citizens who are 18 years and above.
For all citizens who may want to stand as candidates; it is important to encourage all your voter’s to participate in this process.
CCEDU intends to observe these process through our countrywide infrastructure. The observation will take place at district, regional, parish and village level.
The idea will be to keep track of the process in terms of the training and briefings for the participants, to establish if the process has been adequately published by the electoral commission, all complaints
are resolved and meetings are held at village, parish, district and regional level.
Apart from observation, CCEDU will utilize its nation-wide 927 civil society organisations to disseminate information about the update process.
CCEDU already blasted messages to its membership alerting them of these important processes.
The village council meetings will have a returning officer, a village chairperson, a village council resident or residents, sub-
county supervisors and parish supervisors, plus the ordinary voters’. Ugandans need to be vigilant right from village level as these processes take place.
At village level there will be scrutiny of the voter’s register to clearly identify who is on the register.
Those who will be deleted, it will be a unanimous position that they are dead or they have shifted to vote from the cities where they live.
There are still challenges that afflict the national voters register. Complaints of ‘ghost’ voters remain. Some of the glitches could be technical, arising from how the national voters register is managed – especially after the passing of the Registration of Persons Act, 2015.
The writer Ms. Charity Ahimbisibwe (R) and the EC Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama.
The public needs to renew their keen interest on registering for national Identification cards (ID). However, CCEDU notes with concern that there is not the same enthusiasm to register deaths – when they occur. Equally, there is not the same fervor to deregister voters who are no longer eligible such as persons who have relinquished Ugandan citizenship.
This potentially leaves ‘ghosts’ on the register. It is difficult to confirm or contradict the allegations of ‘ghost voters’ and on the 15th March 2018, Jinja East Constituency by-election, CCEDU observed the complexities that arise from streamlining the electoral roll with the National Identification Register.
In order to rid the voters register of any ineligible voters, the Electoral Commission and the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) need to collaborate with the wanainchi (citizens’), especially with regard to publicizing on-going citizen registration exercises, alongside articulating the importance of the registration of deaths and of persons who
have left the country or denounced Ugandan citizenship. Citizen vigilance from village to national level will be central in framing a clean and credible national voters register ahead of the 2021 elections.
The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology can also play a pivotal role in making e-government platforms available to increase
awareness among citizens about the voter update process. UBC and its countrywide network, plus all other media can collaborate with CCEDU and we put out exciting messages for the good of Uganda’s democracy.
The government will have to encourage open and meaningful support from local leaders, citizens and civil society in this regard.
The writer is the Head of Communication and Advocacy at the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda, CCEDU.
CCEDU has taken note of the concerns raised by members and sections of the public on its Hoima District Woman MP by-election statements, issued on Thursday 26th September 2019 and Friday 27th September 2019. We respect your opinions and we thank you for continuously holding us to very high standards of expectation.
We wish to clarify that our preliminary statement was released during polling and the vote counting exercise. The second statement was published after polling and upon the Electoral Commission (EC) announcing the results from the by-election on the morning of Friday 27th September 2019.
We therefore appeal to our members and the public to review both statements in context.
As modus operandi,CCEDU is set to issue a detailed report of what our Election Observation Mission (EOM) observed in the Hoima District Woman MP By-election conducted on 26th September 2019.
We will share our detailed report with our stakeholders at the earliest opportunity.
For God and My Country.
On Friday, 27th September 2019 at 03:30am, NRM candidate for the Hoima District Woman MP By-election, Businge Harriet was announced winner in an election that pitted her against opposition-backed Nyakato Asinansi (FDC). According to the Electoral Commission, Businge Harriet (NRM) secured 33,301 votes and Nyakato Asinansi (FDC) obtained 28,789 votes. Voter turnout was about 43% (comparatively high for a by-election).
Whereas the opposition parties and formations benefited a great deal from uniting behind a single candidate, the NRM leveraged its access to (and use of) state resources including government vehicles, and public officers to campaign for, and get the NRM candidate announced as winner in the Hoima District Woman MP By-election.
There is a likelihood that allegations and realities of occurrences such as circulation of pre-ticked ballot papers in favour of the NRM candidate (on polling day), arrests of agents from the opposition parties (for whichever reason) and the partisan involvement of some security agents to the point of attempting to subvert the will of the people in some areas within Hoima, affected the election and how it later turned out to be. It is possible that these issues could in future be brought up to query the credibility of the Hoima District Woman MP By-election.
The level of vigilance was high in this election. In fact, candidates’ agents, supporters, and ordinary citizens played a key role in exposing some of the issues that afflicted the election.
Not withstanding the incidents, polling day was generally calm in Hoima Municipality although with a few spots of tension. People generally came out to exercise their right to vote.
We will share with you a detailed report from the Hoima District Woman MP By-election.
Prior to making his second presentation to the UN today Thursday, September 12, 2019, Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order met a number of dignitaries to emphasize the issues he will be presenting to the Human Rights Council. Notably, he met the Singapore Ambassador to the UN, he met the Iranian Delegation and the Dutch Youth Representative.
Dr Sewanyana will devote his second thematic report to the Human Rights Council to the intersectional topic of public participation and decision-making in global governance spaces and its impact on a democratic and equitable international order. In the report, Dr Sewanyana states that international groups such as the United Nations and the World Bank have an obligation to make decisions in accordance with the basic democratic governance principles such as transparency, inclusivity, responsiveness and accountability. Dr. Sewanyana will emphasize the need for these global frameworks to fight corruption both at local and global level. “There is need to fight corruption using local and global spaces,” says Sewanyana.
Dr Sewanyana will draw the attention of nations on the need to assess the notion of national assets being hidden in foreign countries. This in his view is the only way these frameworks can promote public participation in governance.
Since he assumed this mandate, Dr Sewanyana has issued 14 communications and five press releases jointly with other experts. He has also issued two newsletters concerning the activities he has so far undertaken.
Last year, Dr Sewanyana presented a report at the seventy-fourth session of the UN. He has also took part in the networking European Citizen education. He gave a speech at the inaugural global citizen forum, organized by Drake University. He participated in the 57th International Affairs Symposium on culture and Human rights organized by Lewis and Clark College in Portland USA.
In 2019, he attended the international Conference on national, regional and international mechanisms in Doha Quarter. He also attended a high-level regional conference on Justice and good governance in the Great Lakes Region, in Nairobi Kenya. He attended the 26th annual meeting of special procedure mandate holders, in Geneva. He participated in consultations organized by the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Geneva.
Catch his live broadcast on Http://webtv.un.org/live/