CCEDU relied on a total of 10,029 members to mobilize the electorate to participate in the Special Interest Group (SIG) elections. Besides rallying participation, trained CCEDU members also tracked the SIGs election exercise with specific focus on determining quality of involvement by various election stakeholders and establishing if the standard operating procedures as stipulated in the Electoral Commission guidelines were followed.

SIGs elections saw the representatives for People with Disabilities (PWDs) and the Youth elected at village/zone or cell level. The elections were by Electoral College and the second set of elections will be conducted at Parish level. For the 2021 PWD Elections, only 382,577 PWDS are registered voters and  are set to participate in all the scheduled elections.

Nomination: All 10,029 observers reported that nominations were carried out at sub-county level; therefore, the PWDS who did not have transport to the sub-county were left out of the exercise. To make matters worse, forms had to be picked and returned at the sub-counties. Although there was no need for nomination fee or qualification to participate in these elections; many PWDS were left out of the election. There were no specific days gazetted for the nomination of PWDs in 9,652 villages observed. The nomination was done alongside that of other groups, which was not favourable for PWDs because some of them had to move for days to access the forms.

Despite the amendment of the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) ACT 2006 to include people with albinism and the little persons, 9,032 observers reported these groups and the deaf and blind were segregated by their physically disabled colleagues and most of the posts were taken by the physically disabled.  2,106 observers reported party agents picking nominations forms for different persons without their permission, filling them for them and then convincing them to stand on Election Day.

On Thursday August 13, 2020, PWD elections were conducted with considerably very few people showing up to vote. 6,234 of CCEDU’s 10,029 observers reported that there were as low as between eight to 10 voters at each of the polling stations observed.

All 10,029 observers reported that information for PWD elections was poorly disseminated with adverts running largely on radio and yet all the deaf could not access this information.

Also due to lack of information, 8,612 observers reported that voter’s mistook the national PWD elections with the NRM primaries. Some of them even claimed they registered in the NRM primaries elections, but their names were not on the EC registers.

4,312 observers reported that their registers only had three registered voters on them hence at their polling stations, out of the 5 positions only 3 were filled by those on the register one being a woman. This points to the fact that some voters missed the voter register update process.

5,689 observers reported that the voters did not know the candidates they were going to elect in the PWD elections. 3,452 observers reported that some voters’ names were wrongly spelt on the register, but they were corrected by polling officials and were allowed to vote.

All 10,029 observers reported that there were five posts contested for at village/cell level namely; chairperson, vice chairperson , treasurer, secretary and publicity; at 7,098observers reported unopposed candidates for all these posts in the PWD elections and 4,115 observers reported that for each of the five posts 2 were women and three men.

8,127 observers reported that by 11:00am polling stations were closed with no polling officials and the participants were back to the sub-county headquarters to sign the declaration forms.

 

Methodology:

CCEDU deployed a member in 10,029 villages of Uganda, although the Special Interest Group elections were conducted in 68,740 villages across Uganda.

Youth Elections

The village youth Committee elections were conducted on August 17th 2020 and the youth Voter’s register had 7,846,373 registered voters. This statement, therefore, presents polling day procedures in the face of COVID-19.

 

Key observations:

l3,045 observers reported that registered voters did not find their names on the voters’ register and they were directed to try and find their names at other polling stations.

l 9,528 observers reported that the elections were by lining up and the turn-out was much better than in the PWD and Elder Persons village elections.

l At all polling stations observed, polling officials followed the procedures.

l 8,117 observers reported that all posts in the youth elections had candidates, but not all political parties fielded candidates. National Unity Platform was largely reported in Urban Centres, but in the villages it was mainly NRM and FDC candidates that were reported.

l 938 observers reported violence in the elections observed.

l 243 observers reported that polling was cancelled at their polling stations because Electoral officers kept telling the youth that it is only NRM that is allowed to participate in the election. Some of the enlightened youth resorted to causing chaos and as such polls were repeated today August 18, 2020 in some places like Kiboga and in other places they were postponed. Misinformation of the voters’ in a multi-party dispensation amounts to excluding them from a process that the Constitution gives them a right to participate in. This means the process in such instances falls short of internationally accepted standards of conducting elections.

l 8,407 observers reported that standard operating procedures were not observed during polls at the village youth elections. With young people pushing themselves in queues and they were not wearing masks.

l 7,223 observers reported that there was one EC official at polling stations observed and some polling stations did not have polling constables.

 As a leading player in advocacy for electoral reforms, observation of general and by-elections and civic/voter education campaigns, the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) observed the Special Interest Group Elections to promote the integrity of electoral processes by detecting and deterring electoral malpractices. CCEDU has a special mandate to observe Elections in conformity with the relevant international instruments governing election observation and the Constitution and National Laws of the Republic of Uganda[1].

Launched on 19th August 2009, CCEDU

 is a broad coalition that brings together over 927 like-minded civil society organizations and over 27,000 individuals to advocate for electoral democracy in Uganda. CCEDU’s vision is to realize a Uganda where the principles and practices of electoral democracy are upheld. Its mission is to advance integrity and citizen participation in Uganda’s electoral processes. CCEDU carries out its work in all districts and regions of Uganda. In line with its vision, CCEDU observed the Special Interest Group Elections focusing on nomination, campaigns and Election Day processes namely: Arrival of voters; availability of Electoral Officials, women versus male candidates, standard operating procedures due to COVID-19.

Conclusion

 

CCEDU observed that the electoral procedures were generally followed in the village PWD and Youth Elections, however, standard Operating procedures as laid out in the EC guidelines were not always followed and yet COVID-19 cases have continued to rise. The youth were especially vigilant and at some polling stations begged the observers to stay until the end of polls. CCEDU applauds the electoral commission for organizing a largely peaceful process with a few lapses at polling stations observed.

Recommendations:

CCEDU recommends that efforts geared to increase voter education in the communities be seriously considered by the Electoral Commission ahead of the Parish Elections. CCEDU appeals to the Electoral Commission to employ village mega phones to pass on the much needed voter information ahead of the Special Interest Group Elections at Parish Level.

The unfortunate reports that members of the opposition were denied a chance to participate in the village youth elections in Kiboga, Namisindwa and Luweero require the Electoral Commission to sensitize their officials that national elections are open to people of all political dispensation because Uganda subscribes to a multi-party democracy. Misinformation of the voters’ in a multi-party dispensation amounts to excluding them from a process that the Constitution gives them a right to participate in. This means the process in such instances falls short of internationally accepted standards of conducting elections.

CCEDU Contacts:

Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda

Website: www.ccedu.org.ug

Phone: 0794444410

Facebook: @CCEDU Uganda

Twitter: @cceduganda

 

 

 

[1]The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda is the primary law in Uganda; it has provisions in governing elections. The constitutional provisions on elections are buttressed by statute law contained in;The Persons With Disabilities (PWD) ACT 2006, The National Youth Council ACT 2010. The Local Governments Act 1997 as amended, The Electoral Commission Act Cap. 243. The Political parties and Organizations Act