Youth in West Nile have demonstrated over the manner in which Youth Members of Parliament are elected. The angry youth held placards and marched on the streets chanting ‘youth voices matter’, electoral colleges must go’. They argued that Electoral College system of voting discriminate against a large percentage of the youth. Most of them are hindered from choosing candidates of their choice.
“We are all above 18 years; we have a right to choose our leaders,” Rwothomio Saviour , Secretary for Finance, Nebbi District Youth Council said.
“Electoral Colleges must go, our voices must be heard,” Dima Godfrey Oboi District youth Chairperson Adjumani.
“All youth must vote, electoral colleges must go,” the youth chanted.
“The voting system is tedious and expensive as it requires transportation of voters/delegates from one place to another and also discriminates the potentially good youth leaders with good ideology and manifesto from taking up leadership”, said Bakole Geoffrey, District Youth Chairperson Arua.
Electoral College system of voting is where a few people / youth or voters who are delegates vote on behalf of the majority voters/youth.
In Youth MP’s elections and youth council elections, nine people are voted at the villages who vote for the nine committee members at the parish level; who thereafter vote nine committee members at the sub county that conclusively vote for nine district youth council committee members; who in addition to the 3 sub county committee members (sub county youth chairperson, secretary for finance and secretary for female affairs) form the 336 youth of the National Youth Delegates Conference that votes for the youth MPs and Nine National Youth Council Committee members.
“The youth MP’s have not come out to front the Youth Agenda as the Youth do not feel their relevance and impact. They cover over 30 to 40 districts each which is a challenge and makes them ineffective,” Lydiah Namayengo, Project Manager, Voice CCEDU.
Youth make up 78% of Uganda’s population and yet they are represented by only 5 youth MP’s representing Western, central, Eastern, Northern and Buganda region according to the 1993 National Youth Act.
However the youth are objected to this system which violates their rights as mandated by Chapter 1 article 1 clause (4) and Chapter 5 article 59 (1) in the constitution of Uganda.
The group which feels marginalized, now want the Regional youth MP’s and other Interest Group MP’s(worker’s, Persons with Disabilities, army and women) abolished and instead introduce proportional representation where there is a district youth MP, Woman MP and PWD from within the existing constituencies of every district.
“One regional youth MP cannot address issues of youth in a whole region as it entails very many districts. For instance I have never seen my youth MP ever since campaigns. I do not know how he looks like or how tall he is”, said Amoro Janet, secretary female affairs Arua district Youth council.
“The Youth MP’s are not aware about what affects the youth on the ground. They should be scrapped off because they are not representing us in parliament. They have introduced the social media tax and it is what unites , employs some of us but no youth MP is coming out to demand for the tax to be abolished”, Rwothomio Saviour , Secretary for Finance , Nebbi District Youth Council.
The youth urge government to empower youth councils by providing salaries and allowances to them so as to effectively address the issues that affect the youth.
“Youth must demand for inclusion and full participation in elections , policy making , planning , budgeting and decision making because it is their right granted by the Constitution of Uganda”, Lydiah Namayengo , Project Manager Voice, CCEDU.
Onduma Sulaiman, the speaker LC5 Arua District said “the youth need our support. If you the youth don’t speak up for yourselves, who will speak for you? Don’t fear, raise your voices and government will respond”.
The youth from Adjumani, Moyo , Yumbe , Nebbi , Arua , Koboko , Maracha and Zombo districts were converging at Arua Christus Centre for the ‘My Voice’ regional platform under My Voice campaign that is aimed at amplifying Youth Voices to ensure more Youth Participation in Elections and Democracy in Uganda , a program run by CCEDU in partnership with OXFAM.
This is to clarify that CCEDU has not and is not recruiting lawyers for temporary or long-term employment, as has been alleged by some sections of the public. As common practice, CCEDU puts together an internal legal response system for its election observers during elections of a national nature. In the same way, as we prepare to observe the upcoming local government elections in July 2018, CCEDU is putting together a voluntary legal response team from (strictly) within its membership to respond to any issues affecting CCEDU observers that may arise during this electoral period.
The by-election held on May 31st 2018 was a result of Court of Appeal nullifying the 2016 election of NRM’s Winfred Matsiko on grounds of voter bribery.
To track the day’s activities, CCEDU deployed a team of 27 stationary and mobile observers who sampled 67 out of the 270 polling stations in all the 16 Sub Counties that comprise Rukungiri district.
Preliminary findings of the observation team were:
Opening of the Poll:
In an unprecedented move to ensure that polling materials arrive at the polling stations in time, the Electoral Commission dispatched materials to the furthest four (4) sub counties of Bikurungu Town Council, Nyakishenyi Sub-county, Bwambara Sub-county and Nyarushanje Sub-county on 30st May 2018 at 7:00pm. The rest of the polling materials were dispatched to the remaining 12 Sub Counties between 4:00am and 7:00am on the polling day (May 31, 2018). Despite EC’s resolve to have polling stations open in time, some of the polling stations, especially those around Rukungiri town received polling material as late as 8.00am. Rukungiri stadium, Rwakabengo Health Centre3, are some of the polling stations that delayed to commence voting due to late receipt of polling materials.
Former presidential candidate Dr. Kiiza Besigye interracts with CCEDU Observers after casting his vote on 31st May 2018 in Rukungiri District
CCEDU also observed that at some polling stations, the mandatory 5 voters required to allow for the opening of a polling station were not present. Polling stations such as Kinyasano Cathedral Polling station in Western Division voting delayed to start due to lack of the 5 mandatory voters required to commence polling.
Issued: May 29, 2018| 1:00pm
Introduction: Given its broad mandate of realizing a Uganda where the principles and practices of electoral democracy are upheld, the Citizen’s Coalition For Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) will observe the Rukungiri Women MP, by-election slated for May 31. As a means of enhancing citizen participation in Uganda’s electoral processes, CCEDU is today, May 29, conducting the training of its 30 observers at Riverside Hotel Rukungiri. CCEDU is in Rukungiri to mobilize citizens to show up in large numbers and participate in the by-election. Since its establishment, CCEDU has been a leading player in advocacy for electoral reforms, observation of general and by-elections and civic/voter education campaigns.
Electoral Details: Rukungiri district is made up of three constituencies namely; Rubabo, Rujumbura and Rukungiri Municipality. 12 sub-counties namely: Buyanja, Kebisoni, Nyakishenyi, Nyarushanje, Bugangari, Buhunga, Bwambara, Nyakagyeme, Ruhinda, Eastern division, Southern division and Western division. The district has 77 parishes and 276 polling stations. In the race are four candidates namely: Winifred Matsiko (NRM), Betty Muzanira (FDC), Fabith Kukundakwe (PPP), Prisca Sezi Mbaguta (independent) and two candidates opted out.
The CCEDU election Observation Team already in Rukungiri for the #RukungiriByElection
CCEDU Communication Plan for the By-election: To fulfill our mandate of promoting electoral democracy in Uganda, CCEDU will closely observe the processes of the by-election through 20 short-term observers who will be stationed at particular polling centers. In addition, CCEDU will have ten roving observers, so as to give a balanced picture of the election. CCEDU will be assisted by its robust membership infrastructure in Rukungiri and Kabale.
- As a body mandated with realizing the principles and practices of electoral democracy our core audience are the voters and the citizens. CCEDU urges all those who will participate in the election to ensure they have all the requirements to participate ahead of the by-election. We also urge voters to turn up in large numbers and vote for a candidate of their choice.
- For effective messaging, through-out E-day, CCEDU will post captioned pictures on its website, facebook and tweeter accounts so as to keep the voter’s and the country abreast with the processes in the Rukungiri by-election.
- CCEDU will also report about the various stages of the electoral process namely: opening and set-up, polling, counting and tallying.
Conclusion: The conduct of elections in Uganda is guided by the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, the Parliamentary Elections Act and the Electoral Commission Act and CCEDU will observe the Rukungiri Women MP by-election in relation to these pieces of legislation, to gauge if the election is conducted within the precincts of the law.
Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) Democracy House Plot 1111 Lulume Road, Nsambya P.O. Box 11027 Kampala, Uganda Tel: +256 794 444 410 Fax: +256-414-510498 or Dr Livingstone Sewanyana: 0752 791963
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2018
SOLIDARITY MESSAGE ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY
Freedom of expression including the media is the cornerstone of any democracy. The right to information and the right to access such information is vital for the growth of society, no less the Ugandan society. As the world commemorates the World Press Freedom Day, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative recognizes the efforts of the Ugandan media, who, against all odds have been at the forefront in the struggle for respect for human rights, democracy and rule of law in Uganda.
Participants of the World Press Freedom Day celebrations at the Railway Grounds in Kampala on 3rd May 2018.
We invite the government of Uganda and her agencies to uphold the freedom of media, create an enabling environment for journalists to report without unnecessary harassment, intimidation and fear of reprisals. Law enforcement agencies in particular should desist from making unwarranted attacks against media personnel-reporters, editors, media proprietors in whatever form. Beatings, confiscation of cameras, denial of access, arbitrary arrests of journalists should be a thing of the past. Journalists should also report objectively and professionally taking great care not to injure the reputation and privacy of others. We salute our media for being brave and keeping Ugandans informed. Together we stand for Media Freedom in Uganda.