Hon. Otto Odonga: Notice of Motion to Censure Betty Amongin over abuse of Office (23.05.2018)
I write what I like.
You should never be shocked if a National Resistance Movement (NRM) Members of Parliament (MP) or Historicals are caught eating of the public plate. No matter who it is, they are acting as they are entitled to this. They are entitled not pay rent, they are entitled to grab land and entitled to get kickbacks on government contracts. This is the system the NRM has built. To say otherwise is naive. This is the continuation of the “pay-to-play” system that Amama Mbabazi was known for. How do you think him and Gilbert Bukenya made their wealth?
They did not sell Nile Brew on the streets of Kampala, no these two used their positions to eat and therefore was synonymous with the word corruption, at one point they could have their face in the dictionary as they we’re always connected with some sham transaction. The same can be said the Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kuteesa, who always has some shady business deal or arrangement to make sure his pockets are fat. When the new generation of NRM MPs see how the old-guard did it. They want to be in on it. That is natural.
So when Betty Amongi does what she does, she has learned from her peers. Not that is right or by law, but by the activity of the party. The same can be said by Evelyn Anite, whose also has some shady deals now. Both of these are just the newest crop, in addition to the ones who has already played these games. I am just waiting for Frank Tumwebaze to have some sort deal with the Telecoms, so that he could earn something on the side with this Sim-Card Saga of his. That would have made sense and also within reason.
And we know the likes Jim Muhwezi and others has made enough fortunes, big enough homes, that is why the house of Gen. Elly Tumwine, whose trying to outshine the Gbadolite, the house of former Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Therefore, the NRM elite has money, while the government lacks it and borrows to keep the cash flow going. If not, they are begging for handouts to secure government projects. This is happening while the elite is finding all kinds of tricks to find new money.
These are MPs with a lavish pay, secured pay for cars and housing, these are MPs whose already getting well-fed on the government tab. So they shouldn’t need to do shady backroom deals, but still they do, because the ones with much, always wants a little bit more. The rich wants to get richer. That is also natural, but they are feeding themselves on a rotten root and hoping the tree will bear fruits next season. Which is impossible, as they are killing off the tree, instead of nurturing it and making sure it can last.
The NRM eating like there is no tomorrow, it isn’t only the President. The State House and the PM. They are the main beneficiaries, but the MPs want their part of the pot of gold. That is why we see Presidential Handshakes, bribes, kickbacks, graft, land-grabs and whatnot. They all want their slice, because they want to be like the previous NRM ministers who did the same. They are NRM and therefore entitled to eat. That is the system. Not a beautiful masterpiece, but when the predecessors did it, why can’t they?
I am not saying it is justified, but I understand why it happens, why they are acting like this. Because they want their loot and their fortunes. If not they wouldn’t run as MPs or part of the elites. This is the way to get it. Not by hard work or dedication, no by association and by office. That is how this system work. This is 32 years down the road, and nothing has changed…
So please don’t be shocked, its put into play long time ago. That is why even Mwenda was bitching about this a decade ago, before his “independent” magazine launch. Peace.
Well, I am biased, as the President are visiting Dubai for 4th Global Business Forum on Africa on the 2nd November 2017. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is trying to cater to foreign investors. People who he usually cater to at the State House, so he can get favors and Presidential Handshakes. That is why he isn’t bothered with taxes, because the tax-holidays and possible offerings will be huge for the investors who comes in. That is what the National Resistance Movement (NRM) are doing, especially if it is for instance a nations offering the state loan, than the same state can come with state-companies to build infrastructure like Chinese companies coming in after offering loans to the same NRM government. Therefore, just look at what he was saying yesterday, which is weird, but fit a pattern.
“Since you are business people, we must be talking about profits. When you talk of Uganda and Africa, you are talking about peace as an enabling environment; which we have. We have raw materials, and have a population of 40 million people that’s’ a market. And if we talk of integration we have a four tear market” (…) “In Africa, the demand is there and growing because we have been under-consuming while the rest of the world the demand is falling because they have been over consuming” (…) “There are plenty of raw materials, minerals, tourism and so on so when you invest there you have access to all these” (…) “I don’t have to bother investors with taxes, what I want is for them to invest, use our raw materials, create jobs, add value and promote exports” (State House Uganda, 2017).
Well, so the President trying to say to foreign investors, you don’t need to pay taxes for your output, just cater to me. The state you don’t have to bother about, just bother about catering to the State House and me. We will add value and promote exports, we will agreements and make sure you get the value on our resources and low-payed workers.
We know who is the biggest taxpayers in the republic, because of Uganda Revenue Authority own statement in the media on the 31st October 2017, which stated names like Mr. Alnasir Virani Gulam Hussein Habib, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, Mohammed Hussain, Nakayima Janat, Karia Minex, Karia Kunnal, Alykhan Hudani and Dayalijil Karan. Who are sounding like foreign investors and they are on the top 25 biggest taxpayers in Uganda. So the state has already connected families from abroad to invest there in various businesses. This shows there are already people who is not worried about taxes, but about the output of their companies.
Some of these investors has made big names, while others have worked more in silence. Still, this shows that the top earners even promoted by URA and Doris Akol. Proves how they are working, as there wasn’t that many own citizens on the list. That shows that the foreign investors must get a special advantage and special agreements at the state house for their dealings. Especially, considering how it has been done, just for tearing down markets in Kampala for own investors and financial agreements. This has been done and arranged from the State House without consultation with locals, neither KCCA or the renters of these markets. That is how the NRM and Museveni do deals in favor of him and if he get ill-gained funds, he will support the “development”. It is in similar fashion he exposes his intent in Dubai.
That the State doesn’t need taxes or need structures to facilitate for foreign investors, they just needs agreements with State House and then it is all fair-game. It is insane, but fits the Modus Operandi of the Musevenism and NRM regime. Give him a Presidential Handshake and you can operate as you want in the Republic. Peace.
State House Uganda – ‘President Museveni woos Arab investors to Uganda “We have the raw materials, human resource and market”’ (02.11.2017) link: https://www.africa-newsroom.com/press/president-museveni-woos-arab-investors-to-uganda-we-have-the-raw-materials-human-resource-and-market?lang=en
“The three arms of government and their sub-branches must have discipline. For example I have been involved in disciplining the army. We should do the same for other sub-branches of government. If the Judiciary is also disciplined in fighting corruption, citizens will lead a good life.” – Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on the 1st October 2017, State House Entebbe.
Its just one of these days that hearing the news and seeing the tweets of the President, makes me laugh and wonder if he listen to himself. He knows his system and has made his garden. The way the government steers and govern is because of his policies, his regulations and his support. It is not like there been other ruling for last 30 years in Uganda. The Republic has been under the control of Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM).
The NRM has suffocated all other free-will and control. Therefore, Ministers, Members of Parliament and others seek guidance and funds directly at the State House in Entebbe. Even foreign investors meet there to make agreements. Everything is nearly sanctioned out there. The Discipline now is more on the narrow-minded government that is run from there. The institutions and the procedures are not so important. Since most things happening is with the words from “above”, meaning the President and his close advisers.
It is not rocket science to know where the benefactor or the reason for lacking structures. That is because government waits for their go sign by the State House, they are waiting for funding of the projects and institutions from the State House. The projects and the works of the State House and under the Prime Ministers Offices are the key organizations within this government. They might say all of the massive cabinet has part to play, but that is the facade.
Therefore, it is ironic for a man so controlling and so disorganized that it gives sometimes way to the unthinkable. Just like the Presidential Handshake, that was sanctioned by the State House, but taken form the wrong account. That was the problem for the President, not that the corrupt behavior was occurring on his watch. Its like he talks against himself. Because he has no problem speaking anti-corruption, but if corruption benefit his cronies – its fine and dandy!
I am not surprised by him at this point of time, its fit his narrative. He says what he expects and wants out of others, but the next day he finds a way to benefit or use the loyalty of his cronies. Not like he would have excepted the UCC not to listen and stop the suspended MPs to hit the airways and be broadcast on TV. He rather being himself on radio and in the spotlight, but will accept anyone else sharing the same space.
President Museveni is the proof of someone saying something noble, but doing opposite. He might say something insane, but act rational. Therefore, you never know where you have him. I will never believe him actually disciplining the government, if doing so. It means they are all blindfolded and following his guidelines. It does not mean building proper governance and protocol, neither is institutionalize the departments and ministries, it is all about his will and his stature.
When it comes to Museveni, discipline is about following him. Not building transparent and proper government institutions. Peace.
It is depressing, it is sad and it tormenting to listen and read the defenses of National Resistance Movement. The defense of the 31 years of rule, the rule of the for life President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his cronies. The cronies and their 10th Parliament, the By-Elections that are rigged in favor of the NRM Regime. The government of Uganda is totally controlled by the one in-charge, the President and kingpin.
The Parliament are following orders and making amends to seem to be different. Therefore, the results of elections are more to just show overpower, but not to have real elections. As the NRM sends buses and pays of villages with small-fees and commodities. There aren’t anything fruitful or sincere by the regime. The ones who put dissidents in the Nalufenya prison. Where they will be beaten, tortured and get ill. As well, as in the overcrowded prison in Luzira. The organized silence of opposition, as their rallies are filled with tear-gas and police brutality. If not the ones who are feared by the NRM are put on treason charges and called terrorists.
President Museveni with his patronage, his bloated State House, the massive cabinet and the Presidential Advisors. There certainly enough ghosts, fake bills and misuse of state reserves to write books ten times thicker than the bible. We can know by the lost trillions of the Petroleum monies, as the “Presidential Handshake” is a drop in the ocean. As the UNRA and other agencies has misused the taxpayers monies. This happens with such ease and lacking finesse, but the agencies looking into graft and corruption is compromised, because the ones leading it are loyal Musevenist.
That the government and budgets are bloated. That the financial and economic state is in deep distress, as the state is suffering from lacking provisions and revenue. As well, as they are struggling with the stop of donor friendly relationships. People’s and Foreigners trust in the leadership of Museveni has been dwindling. President Museveni are also already prospecting the revenue of the oil and petroleum, even before it has surfaced. Therefore, the future will also be compromised by the deals done today.
The defenders of the NRM now, does not believe in real democracy, as they defending the rigging and militant Movement. A President who has no trouble with killing and destroying to stay in power. The ones defending him has no trouble to stand by a man who empties the treasury and state reserves with no hesitation. As well, as the men and woman who stays by the regime, are easily taking land and resources, they are eating of the plate and selling it back to the Ugandans. This with impunity and without any consideration of the ones who loses their chances.
It is a nation who has a government, not based on merit, but on loyalty. The loyalty to Museveni and his agenda. The agenda to work for him and his ideas. Not work to develop the nation, but develop the estate of Museveni. The idea of real Movement is ploy from the master himself. He just needs shadows to work for him and for envelopes. Not a real party who deliver policy or working for the future Republic. No the Movement is now a shell used pounce out the empty ideas of greed, nurture of the estates of Museveni and of the staging the power of the old-man with the hat!
President Museveni and his apologists knows all of this, they live by this and has faith that this is ideal and the dream. That someone comes with empty promises and lives by the fake party celebrating the 1986 coup. The coup that overruled the government and the old constitution, that President Museveni couldn’t pigeonhole. That has he done to his own and plans to do it again for his 8th Term.
The apologists can say he created safety, but he also created warfare and civil-war to get to power. Some called it a revolution, other calls it a takeover. But with time it wasn’t for the idea of a people’s government, but more a government and state built around the revolutionary, who didn’t really believe in the words he spoke.
The ones defending him, is defending a lie and that for the sake of eating. Not for the benefit of the Republic or the public. The struggling public is pawns, they are just needed props now and then for the Movement. As they praise their master, as they know if they get to close or too ambitious they are surely losing their place. Therefore, all of them are loyal cadres, elite and patrons who surely basks in the pasture of the President. But really, they should know it is on borrowed time. No-one knows how long the patronage and military can be serviced, how long they can all live on the charade and the misuse of power.
Certainly, the President knows this too, therefore, he uses all ways to make sure and get people on board. Even if that lets people starve, let them cheat on food reliefs and even use refugees as bailing-out card on the struggling economy. That is solely made of the patronage and grand-corruption orchestrated from the seat of the President at the Okello House. He can created all sorts of schemes and manufacture new ways of promoting better agriculture or better yields, but it is all ploys of generating more funds for his own. Not for the public to earn or get better output of the seeds and seedlings. If so, than the agricultural should be booming after 30 years in power.
However, the defense of this will be in the patronage and by the spokespersons appointed by the President. These ones will make a fuzz and say the Opposition never was a viable option and never had the leadership to overturn the Movement. The Movement has always been the only option, they say and use new ways of saying so. But that doesn’t make it true, as the rigging and the intimidation is used to forge this facade. The flawless untouched ballots doesn’t exists, there has been all sorts of play to get the will of the President.
President Museveni, even detain opposition, he uses safe-houses and some like Sam Mugumya are detained in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with no plan of getting him home. Him and others are lingering abroad as the political prisoner lingers in uncertainty. This is the legacy of the revolutionary, who became the draconian and the militarized government who uses all means to stay. He uses all methods on earth, Machiavellian and Orwellian blended in a Yellow Color with no fear of repression… no fear that the Movement can be touched, but when the moment appear. Than the Ugandans shouldn’t lose it, because they have already lost so much in the name of Museveni. Museveni has stolen the past and the present. His men has rewritten the history and tried to become the grand hero, and the generations from the rebellion is dwindling away. The young generation only knows the folklore and should beware, it is not all what it seems. The ghosts are not only in the budgets, but they are haunting the President from the past. They are the ones he stole to gain power and to silence the opposition. These souls will ask in the after-life, why he did what he did to them and also why he punished their grand-kids. Since they all lead the same faith. They all got to feel the pain, with no mercy from the leadership controlled by the President.
That is why there are no defending a man like Museveni. He has used all tricks, even was able to deceive the west for decades to pay for his decadence. Certainly, he must laugh about the dumb-white men and their agendas. His grin must be wide thinking of all the sorts of cars, airplanes and ranch expansions that are paid by the friends of direct-state aid. They have kept his roof and his ammunition, to oppress and to relief his patronage. Therefore, if someone is defending this man. Think of his track-record and all the souls he has left behind. Peace.
Again, President Yoweri Katuga Museveni tried use the trick of democracy, as the ballots and the Electoral Commission, didn’t cook the numbers like a drunk cafeteria staffer and tried to sell it Michelin Star Restaurant. Mr. President has try to sell it other numb-sculls than me, but I am not his target audience.
Let me address one thing Al-Jazeera did wrong, they called him a five time term President, as off his elections. Certainly, the Media House are forgiven for giving way to the propaganda arm of the Movement and their rewriting of history. But there is decade when he wasn’t elected and postponed elections. Sort of the same trick President Joseph Kabila tries to pull of in Democratic Republic of Congo. Well, that is another story for another day. What Al-Jazeera does is to erase the years between 1986 to 1996. Since he wasn’t elected nor had an election, as the rebel and two time General going in and getting rid of the ones on the throne. That is easy to forget as the time past and most of his citizens are born since the 1990s.
Well, before more comments. Look at this interview and the comments of the long-term dictator and ruler of the Republic of Uganda.
Outtake of the Interview:
“Museveni: Have you heard of something called democracy? Democracy means you elect the people you like. We had elections about one year ago and my party won 62 percent of the vote. That does not show that the people of Uganda are fed up of our party because they have voted for us five times.
Al Jazeera: According to some reports, you have demanded to be given the right to choose the next leader of Uganda. You were unsuccessful.
Museveni: No. I cannot demand that. The people are there. The people have been electing me, in spite of Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera: Are you going to run for another term?
Museveni: We follow our Constitution.
Al Jazeera: There are reports that you are about to change the Constitution so that you can run for another term. Is that going to happen?
Museveni: I cannot change the Constitution because I do not have that power.
Al Jazeera: Reports also say that you are now preparing your own son, who is now highly elevated in the army and he’s your special adviser on certain issues. Your wife is also a minister – she sits next to you on the cabinet. Reports are you are preparing one of the two to become the next president of Uganda. What do you say to this?
Museveni: Why should I prepare them? The people of Uganda will choose the one they want.
Al Jazeera: People in your family are very close to you right now, closer than anybody else. There are reports that you are focusing on your own relatives and this is nepotism – giving them higher seats in the government. Isn’t that nepotism, Mr President?
Museveni: That’s not nepotism. The few members of my family that are involved, I involve on their own merit. My wife, against my advice, stood for election and had the biggest majority in the whole country – because the population appreciate what I have done” (Talk to Al Jazeera, 2017).
I wonder if President Museveni feels that as a sole candidate and NRM Flag-Bearer for three decades, that he knows there hasn’t been any suggestion of other people running the country. Why are Dr. Kizza Besigye, Dr. Olara Otunnu, Dr. Paul Ssemogerere and Amama Mbabazi never became Presidents after you? Certainly one of them could have been legitimate presidents and de facto leaders as well. Not only you Mr. President of a so-called democracy? But hey, you took the grip of the nation by the gun and never let-go!
He speaks about electing him, if he means he puts up elections and than makes sure rigging it and using the military to spread fear in the villages; than he would be closer to the actual fact. The time when he was popular have gone, as the pictures only today in the villages when Besigye rode around the whole village turned-up to the car of the opposition leader. Something that wouldn’t occur on the watch of the President, as people more fear him and the security forces around him.
That President Museveni speaks of respecting the constitution, he has already pigeon-hold it to fit the paradigm of longevity of himself. If someone we’re up to change the age-limit on the Presidency, it wouldn’t be out of his character to drop of a few suits to the MP’s and have a summit at Kyankwanzi where the subject came and the Movement would celebrate in the progress the party has made. So the use of democracy and constitution is just fronts to look uptight, when the reality is much more bleak.
Let’s be clear if the Ugandans really could choose, it wouldn’t be you, you are already old milk that is not drinkable. The fatigue and disguise of so-called democracy doesn’t work anymore, the gig is up Mr. President. The evidence is right there, on the kangaroo court, the post-election violence and the disappearance of governance from the Central Governance. It is all circled around you and not the institutions of the government. If so there wouldn’t be given food to district who doesn’t need so and the districts getting who needs so are not getting enough. Just as the proof of the food relief in Lira, Abletong and Dokolo this weekend.
“The first lady and Minister for Karamoja says she will not be seeking re-election as MP for Ruhama County in the 2016 elections. In a statement to her constituents, Mrs. Museveni said she had reached the decision after a lot of thinking and prayer. She asked that her constituents to understand her and accept her message within grace” (NTV Uganda, 22. May 2015).
So how Mrs. Janet Museveni is on merit and was elected to her role as Minister in his cabinet, is not only violation of her place, but he directly lied to Al-Jazeera, but calling Uganda a Democracy and calling himself elected by the people is a forgery. President Museveni knows it and the world does to. The rigging and the pre-ticked ballots is known by the ones googling away. The history on how he changed the constitution in the past is there too. Not like it is not well known. The ignorant are the ones who doesn’t know.
That President Museveni uses the Flying Squad or Special Forces Command to kill and get of rid of dissidents isn’t a rumor or a mirage, it is mere fact of sadness of overstepping powers. As the ones with detaining dissidents and opposition voices like Stella Nyanzi, but also others. Therefore, keep in mind that Uganda isn’t democratic. That President Museveni is on his 7th Term, not on his 5th that is National Resistance Movement rewriting of history and the world has swallowed it! Peace.
Talk to Al Jazeera – ‘Yoweri Museveni: A five times-elected dictator?’ (29.04.2017) link:http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/talktojazeera/2017/04/yoweri-museveni-times-elected-dictator-170429102326955.html
I have just wondered and continue to wonder if these three brothers really have standing and place of political platform to gain momentum at all after the General Election of 2016. These both are veterans and people who have tried more times to be elected as the President of Uganda, without succeeding for that matter. Not because of their words or anything, because like for the rest of the candidates the Electoral Commission has been rigged for President Museveni, to be re-elected for another yet again!
Dr. Abed Bwanika, is a character and a man of words, a man who doesn’t fear to speak his mind and opinion. That is what it seems. The man of the People Development Party (PDP), an opposition politician who has been claimed by Tamale Mirundi of being a NRM diehard; so the man who has lost land in Lwengo are still in cahoots with the ruling regime if the AK-Mouth Mirundi is true to his words. Bwanika usually only appears like every blue moon, but after the recent election has been more visible, tried to talk of dialogue between FDC and NRM. Still, the evident wish of concluding that seems far-fetched. A person can wonder why he cares and what are his motives?
Than you have Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro, the Farmers Party Presidential Candidate who was a man of reason within the general election and campaign. That even after the house arrest of Dr. Kizza Besigye tried to visit and talk about possible dialogue with the Movement or the NRM. Still, he has not been that visible after the election. So he is like a ghost inside some buildings and venues in Uganda.
Than you have the youthful and funny character Elton Joseph Mabirizi who ran as independent candidate in the recent election in the The Independent Coalition (TIC), who I remember even meet up with Dr. Kizza Besigye while he was house-arrested as well, they had a decent talks there. Seems like a decent fellow, has even had a few TV spots after the election. His businesses keep him occupied and busy, his private schools for instance. So it is not like he needs politics. Even as he addressed the public like this on the 15th February: “Museveni lied again about providing sanitary pads to school going children during the last elections which he rigged!” This he said after the Monitor article that the schools wouldn’t give away sanitary pads to female students as promised during the general election of 2016.
These three are just a few of them, which have gone away in the wind, that isn’t main stay or having a meaningful place on the political map of Uganda. These we’re three persons or individuals we followed and swallowed their words during the general campaign. They showed character and flair. But went away when their time for seeking office went away, certainly themselves wish they more say after the elections. Still, their place and their microphone dwindle away as if they we’re able to build an organization or supporters, which they could use on the next go-around. Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro has been there before and still doesn’t have a big organization behind; the same can be said with Dr. Abed Bwanika. It’s a different matter for Elton Joseph Mabirizi who went in without anything, but still worked together with another independent candidate Maureen Kyala Waluube who was the The Independent Coalition (TIC). I haven’t mentioned her, because she has stirred lot’s of madness on social media after the general election and continues to stir the pot. Not that she has a dozens of supporters, but she has the Mwenda effect online.
So do you wonder what these people are trying to achieve after the election? Do you wonder if they really want to build political parties or are they needed figures so President Museveni can say the election are democratic since he has enough candidates that there is initial election, even if the result is already fixed. So he can show that he opens the doors for many to show up, but has an electoral commission that closes the door when the ballot is cast.
These individual’s that was in the spotlight is dimming and is less there, their suction and their quotes isn’t there. Their focus is back to life or whatever they did before the election. So you are now a year since the ballot was cast the people who run for the ballots is not really there and you wonder if these will pop-up again when the Movement needs again. Because the Movement, they needs a road-show and candidates to spring up from the elephant grass. Certainly, it can seem so and wouldn’t be wrong to understand it so.
If you understand it differently than please say so, still the voices of these three has lingered and lost their value as they are not steady in the spotlight. They do not have a civil servant position, they are not MPs, and they are not RDCs or any other important level of public elected officials. Therefore, the three doesn’t have a giant say, neither do these ones take part of Capital Gang or NBS Frontline, therefore the voice is not in the midst of the national debate. They do not engage in the newspapers or in public in general. So there are many more reasons than just being out of office, because Norbert Mao isn’t an MP, but a leader of a party and steady on NBS Frontline, that is why his voice still matters because of the steady exposure.
So, will these men change or will they stay in the outskirts and suddenly embrace it when the elections return and the spotlight are on those that engage in that? Because that is when President Museveni needs gullible people and people he knows doesn’t have enough support to really challenge him. Peace.
Kampala, 20 February 2016
“The AUEOM notes that the elections in Uganda were largely peaceful, but not without shortcomings.”
The African Union Commission deployed a Short Term Election Observation Mission to the 18 February 2016 General Elections in the Republic of Uganda. The Mission comprised 40 Short Term Observers from several African countries drawn from the African Union Permanent Representatives’ Committee, the Pan-African Parliament, Election Management Bodies and Civil Society Organizations.
The AUEOM assessed the General Elections in Uganda based on the relevant African Union instruments, namely; the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; the 2002 OAU/AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa; the 2002 AU Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions; and the legal framework governing the conduct of elections in Uganda. This statement presents the Mission’s preliminary findings covering pre-voting, voting, counting and tallying processes up to 18 February 2016. The African Union will, however, continue to observe the post-electoral developments and release a final report within the next three months.
The AUEOM noted that the legal framework for elections in Uganda provides for, and guarantees the holding of regular elections in conformity with regional and international frameworks. This framework comprises the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, the Electoral Commission Amendment Act 2015; the Presidential Elections Amendment Act 2015; the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Act 2015; and the Political Parties and Organisations Act 2005.
The AUEOM observed that there is no legal framework for regulating political party campaign financing. The Mission noted that the law expressly prohibits the use of Government resources for campaigning by all candidates and parties, except for the President, as stated in Article 27.1 of the Presidential Elections Act. Stakeholders reported that there has been unprecedented increase in campaign spending.
The AUEOM learned that in 2015 Uganda introduced a National Identity Card System, which required the conduct of a mass biometric registration of citizens aged 16 years and above. The EC extracted information of all registered citizens who were 18 years and above to compile a National Voters’ Register. The AUEOM noted that at the end of the National Voter Registration exercise, there were 15, 277,198 registered voters. This Voters’ Register was continuously updated until 11 May 2015 when the process was concluded in line with the electoral calendar.
The AUEOM noted that, whereas the use of data from the National Register ensured that all citizens from 18 years by the end of the mass registration exercise were registered; interlocutors expressed concern that the 11 May 2015 deadline for updating the Voters Roll left many potential voters who turned 18 years after that date, disenfranchised. The EC collaborated with civil society organizations (CSOs) in conducting voter education. However, the accredited CSOs raised concerns that their efforts were constrained by late provision of materials by the EC. In addition, voter education was generally perceived to be inadequate.
The AUEOM noted that for the first time, two presidential debates were held in Kampala and broadcasted live on television and radio. All 8 presidential candidates were invited to reach out to voters using this platform.
The AUEOM observed that despite the unprecedented political and electoral competition, campaigns were generally conducted within the legal framework. However, the Mission noted the 15 February 2016 incident in Kampala, which led to the arrest of an opposition leader, causing anxiety among opposition supporters. The police informed the Mission that the arrested leader and his party had defied the prescribed campaign route.
The Mission noted that women were nominated to run as party and independent candidates in various constituencies and that there was one female Presidential candidate. In addition, women contested for the 112 parliamentary seats specially created for them. The Mission noted the participation of youth in the elections both as candidates and in the campaigns. However, there were concerns raised by some stakeholders of the youth being used by political parties to intimidate and disrupt election campaign rallies of their opponents. The AUEOM noted that besides involvement in voter education initiatives CSOs were involved in domestic observation. Thousands of domestic observers were deployed throughout the country, especially in areas considered as hotspots. The AUEOM noted that in compliance with the legal provisions, the media covered political parties and candidates’ manifestos and campaigns. However, stakeholders felt that the state media provided more coverage to the incumbent president and his party, at the expense of the opposition. It was further reported that private media provided a fairly balanced reporting on all parties and candidates. Besides the mainstream print and electronic media, campaigning was carried out on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp. The AUEOM noted general concerns following the shutdown of social media platforms, by the Uganda Communication Commission from Election Day citing security concerns. The AUEOM noted that there was a generally calm and peaceful pre-election environment with no major security incidents reported.
The AUEOM noted concerns raised by interlocutors with regard to the recruitment, training and deployment of community policing units called Crime Preventers, which they alleged were misused to intimidate opposition parties. The AUEOM was however informed by the police that these were purely crime prevention units at community level with no arresting powers.
The AUEOM noted the lack of trust in security agencies by some opposition parties, which were reported to have created counter units.
On Election Day, the teams visited 148 polling stations comprising 60% urban and 40% rural where they observed opening, voting, closing and counting processes. The observers used tablets to capture and transmit real-time observation data to the Mission Command Centre. The AUEOM teams observed opening procedures countrywide and noted that the environment outside these centers was peaceful.
Delays in opening time by up to 4 hours were reported in a number of polling stations. The delays were attributed to late distribution of polling materials. Consequently, opening procedures pertaining to sealing of ballot boxes, identification and verification of voters were not fully adhered to in some cases.
As per the laid down procedure, voters were asked for identification and their names checked against the register before voting. Only a few were turned away because they did not have the required identification, were not on the voters’ register, were at the wrong polling station or were rejected by the Biometric Voter Verification Kit.
With regards to the Biometric Voter Verification Kits, which were introduced for the first time, the AUEOM observed that in some polling stations, the kits worked well, hence hastening the verification process; while in some stations, they were not used because they were either not working, or the election personnel did not have access pass codes.
As an additional identification and voting facilitation measure, voter identification slips were used to direct voters to the right voting station within a voting center. Voter processing times were reasonable and mostly ranged from no more than 3 minutes in 54% of the polling stations and between 3-6 minutes in 39% of the polling station stations observed.
The AUEOM observer teams observed closing procedures at 4:00pm and beyond in areas where polling was extended because of late opening.
Closing and counting procedures were not strictly adhered to in all polling stations visited. For example, there were instances where polling officials and agents did not reconcile the number of registered voters with the number of people who actually voted. In a majority of polling stations observed, party/ candidate agents were furnished with a copy of the results form by the presiding officer.
The AUEOM congratulates the people of Uganda for turning up in large numbers to perform their civic duty.
While we note that the election process is ongoing, the AUEOM’s overall assessment of the 2016 General Elections thus far, is that they were largely peaceful, but not without shortcomings; in particular, the late delivery of election materials. The late delivery led to more than 4 hours of delays in the opening of polling stations. The Mission wishes to underscore that this impacted on the overall conduct of polling day operations, and caused anxiety and tension among the voters and polling officials, which could have been avoided.
Based on its preliminary findings, the AUEOM makes the following recommendations: The AUEOM encourages the Electoral Commission to:
• Adhere to the prescribed 48 hour time frame for delivery of materials as provided in the Electoral Act, when distributing election materials to polling stations;
• Conduct continuous voter education and voter registration;
• Strengthen training for polling personnel to avoid inconsistencies in implementation of polling procedures;
• Consider using indoor polling in order to create order around the stations and to protect polling officials, voters and materials from weather elements; and • Consider adopting voting booths that ensure the secrecy of the ballot.
The AUEOM recommends that the Government provide adequate resources to the Electoral Commission to conduct continuous voter registration and voter education and enable timely procurement of election materials.
To Parliament, the AUEOM recommends that it:
• Develops legislation to regulate political party and campaign finance; and
• Concludes electoral reforms at least a year before elections to allow for timely preparation and implementation.
The AUEOM encourages the public broadcaster to provide equitable coverage to all candidates.
The AUEOM recommends that Political Parties avoid the usage of inflammatory language during campaigns and inciting supporters.
Lastly, the AUEOM recommends that the Police enforce the law equally on all parties and candidates, and desist from heavy handedness when dealing with the public, political parties and candidates.
The AUEOM will continue to observe the tallying and other post-election developments and issue a comprehensive report three months after the announcement of the election results.
Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo
Head of the African Union Election Observer Mission