Issued: August 30, 2016

Introduction

The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) was launched on 19th August 2009. CCEDU is a broad coalition that brings together over 850 like-minded civil society organizations and over 25,000 individuals to advocate for electoral democracy in Uganda. The CCEDU secretariat is hosted by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI). 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 process. CCEDU carries out its work in all districts and regions of Uganda. 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.

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]

This statement presents the overall observations of the conduct of Election Day process of the CCEDU Election Observation Mission in the five districts.

Summary

CCEDU finds that the Election Day processes were relatively peaceful and better organized from an administration perspective. Polling officials knew polling day procedures and generally followed the legal provisions on opening of the polling station, set up, voting, closing and counting. However, there were some challenges during the polling process notably some voters who were not permitted to vote. Additionally, although the election procedures allow for assisted voting, CCEDU noted cases of voters who were assisted to vote in many of the polling stations observed.

Set Up and opening

Although many polling stations opened after 7am, the polling officials generally followed the laid out procedures for opening and set up. Additionally, the few incidents of missing materials mainly indelible ink were also resolved.

Voting

During the voting process, polling officials at most polling stations followed procedures and the Biometric Voter Verification System (BVVS) relatively functioned well.

In 84 of 100 polling stations observed, voters were checked for ink before receiving a ballot.

· All polling stations observed had the BVVS. In 84 of 100 polling stations observed the BVVS functioned properly. Among the 16 that malfunctioned, 10 were fixed and 3 were replaced.

· Polling officials instructed voters on voting procedures in 89 of the 100 polling stations observed

· In 86 of the 100 polling stations observed, voters were able to vote in secret.

· In 66 of the 100 polling stations observed, there were no unauthorized personnel present inside the polling station. However, police and crime preventers were present in 19 of polling stations.

· High numbers of voters were assisted to vote. In 78 of the 100 polling stations observed some (1 – 14) voters were assisted to vote. In 6 of the polling stations observed more than 15 voters were assisted to vote. Unidentified people assisted voters in 67 of the 100 polling stations observed, while election officials and party agents assisted voters in 16 and 14 of the polling stations respectively contrary to the law.

Chart 1 representing number of voters assisted to vote based on data from 100 polling stations observed by CCEDU

District

Polling Stations with CCEDU Observers

Polling stations with between 1-14 voters assisted to Vote

Kagadi

33

28

Kakumiro

22

16

Kibaale

12

9

Omoro

14

11

Rubanda

19

14

NRM party agents were present in all the 5 districts (in 99 of the 100 polling stations observed), Independent candidates agents present in Kagadi, Kakumiro, Omoro and Rubanda (in 85 of the 100 polling stations observed) and FDC party agents present in Kagadi, Kibaale, Omoro and Rubanda (in 78 polling stations observed.) However UPC, DP and PP party agents presence is limited to Omoro district.

· In 84 of the 100 polling stations observed, all voters in queue by 4pm were able to vote.

Counting and Declaration of Results

· In 99 of the 100 polling stations, polling officials opened the ballot box and sorted ballots in full view of the candidates’ agents.

· 62 of polling stations did not have unauthorized personnel present during counting. However, 23 of polling stations observed had police present and 22 of polling stations had crime preventers present.

· Party agents are useful in an election because they can deter fraud especially if they are vigilant and loyal to their candidate/party. During counting NRM party agents were present in all the 5 districts (in 98 of the 100 polling stations observed), Independent candidates agents present in Kagadi, Kakumiro, Omoro and Rubanda (in 82 of the 100 polling stations observed) and FDC party agents present in Kagadi, Kibaale, Omoro and Rubanda (in 74 polling stations observed.) However UPC and DP presence is limited to Omoro district. PPP party agents were not present during counting in any district.

· Where party agents of NRM were present, their agents signed the Declaration of Results form in 94 of 100 polling stations. They refused to sign in 5 of the 100 polling stations observed.

· Where agents of FDC were present, their agents signed the Declaration of Results form in 72 of 100 polling stations. Where FDC agents were present, they refused to sign in 4 of the 100 polling stations observed.

· Where party agents of UPC were present, their agents signed the Declaration of Results form in 15 of 100 polling stations. They refused to sign in 0 of the 100 polling stations observed.

· Where party agents of DP were present, their agents signed the Declaration of Results form in 15 of 100 polling stations. They refused to sign in 2 of the 100 polling stations observed.

· Where party agents of PPP were present, their agents signed the Declaration of Results form in 6 of 100 polling stations. They refused to sign in 0 of the 100 polling stations observed.

· Where party agents of independent candidates were present, their agents signed the Declaration of Results form in 79 of 100 polling stations. They refused to sign in 8 of the 100 polling stations observed.

· Election results were posted publicly at 86 of the 100 polling stations observed and in all the polling station observed the presiding officer sealed a copy of the DR form in the tamper evident envelope for transmission to the Returning officer.


Critical Incident Reports

CCEDU received 22 critical incidents and verified 17. The highest number of incidents reported from Rubanda (7) and Kakumiro (6) Kagadi (2) and Omoro (1) had the least number of incidents reported.

· Vote buying/voter bribery was the most reported incidents in Rubanda, Omoro and Kakumiro

· Incidents of violence including disruption of voting were the second most reported in Kakumiro, Omoro and Kagadi

· Incidents of unauthorized persons assisting others to vote were the third most reported critical incidents reported in Kakumiro.

· In Rubanda there was also a case of impersonation of voters reported.

· In Omoro voting ended at 5:00pm but voting materials from the polling stations arrived at the tally centre at 10:40pm.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that there were a few incidents of violence reported, CCEDU applauds voters in Kagadi, Kakumiro, Kibaale, Omoro and Rubanda for maintaining peace and calm during the elections. However, CCEDU is concerned that voters are increasingly demanding for bribes from candidates which is a point of concern in our electoral processes. CCEDU urges voters to desist from demanding for bribes and urges candidates to desist from buying voters.

CCEDU remains committed to improving the integrity of electoral processes in Uganda.

For God and my country.

CCEDU Contacts:

Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda

Website: www.ccedu.org.ug

Phone: 0794444410

Facebook:facebook.com/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 Presidential Elections Act No.16 of 2005 as amended, The Parliamentary Elections Act No.17 of 2005 as amended, The Local Governments Act 1997 as amended, The Electoral Commission Act Cap. 243. The Political parties and Organizations Act