My take on the CEON-U January 2016 Report: “There is a need for the state to provide equal facilitation to all parties, to empower them conduct their campaigns on a level ground”.

Topowa Vote

Here is what I found that was important to take from the Citizens Election Observations Network of Uganda (CEON-U) report of pre-election report of January 2016. This here is the second report from Civil Society Organization on the time before the General Election starting 18th February 2016. Most of this I have described piece by piece. I will not take all of the graphics, you should read it yourself as well, but if you don’t have the time. Here is what I see as the important information from the report as the CEON-U has stated. Though it coming in the end of the campaign trail, so the changes they want is most likely not arriving before next election. Right, therefore here is the finding they have found. First: “There is a need for the state to provide equal facilitation to all parties, to empower them conduct their campaigns on a level ground” (P: 4, 2016).

About Dialogue – Inter-Party Liason Committees:
“Majority of LTOs reported that they had not seen or heard of any inter-party liaison committees in their constituencies. At least 89% of LTOs reported that they had no inter-party liaison committees in their constituencies, and at most 97% during this period” (P: 5, 2016).

Uganda-Electoral-Commission

Voter Information:
“With a few days left to the polls, 23% of constituencies that are observed by CEON-U had not reported any voter information by the Electoral Commission by 18th January 2016. This has been observed across regions where observation is taking place. Up to this day, the majority of voters are not clear about the voter identification process. The issue of National Identity cards vs the voter’s card is yet to be resolved” (P: 8, 2016).

Campaigns:
Defacing Campaign posters:
“For FDC, defaced presidential posters were more prevalent compared to parliamentary posters. The percentage of observers reporting defaced FDC posters ranged from 9% to 21% during this period. For Go Forward the percentage of observers reporting defaced posters ranged from 6% to 26% during this period” (P: 11, 2016). “NRM defaced posters was highest in Bukedi, followed by Buganda, Bunyoro and Kigezi” (P: 12, 2016). While FDC defaced posters were mostly observed in Bukedi, Teso and West Nile” (…)”And Go Forward defaced posters was highest in Kigezi, Teso and West Nile” (P: 13, 2016).

Conducting Campaigns after 6PM:
“Contrary to EC regulations, CEON-U observer reports indicate that presidential candidates from FDC, Go Forward and NRM have in some cases conducted campaigns after 6pm” (P: 13, 2016).

Campaigning after 6PM Uganda Nov-Jan

Election Violence and Hate-Speech:
“In week 6, which covered the period 16th to 22nd November 2015, in Nyabushozi County a counselor of Kanyaryeru division in Kiruhura district, on 26th November 2015, used hate speech against presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi when he alleged that he killed Nobel Mayombo and so people should not elect him to presidency because he is a murderer. And because Amama is a murderer he cannot be trusted to be president of Uganda. Still in week 6, while on a rally at Butaleja, Busolwe sub-county in Bunyole west constituency, on 19th November 2015, the voters called Besigye a liar who had no ability to deliver on the promises he was making. They said he was no better than Museveni because he is also corrupt” (P: 14, 2016).

This here puts the things in motion and also how the systematic actions have been during the days of the campaigns. Though compared to the economic campaign report, this here was very simplistic and easy read through; therefore I could compile the information quickly. This here is just a basic information for those who haven’t had an eagle eye on the elections, like the European Union Election Observations Monitoring team and COMESA who arrived in darkness and should see some of the numbers; so they know what they come into. As the sweet-talking IGP Kale Kayihura can really talk the white man into peace and blow smoke up his ass. We all know what the police does towards the Opposition, as seen in recent days.

And with the little voter information at this stage is worrying as we are in final stages of the race and campaign trail. There is something rare about it. CEON-U has done something important explaining the issue of missing voter information. That is something the Electoral Commission should work on of facilitate with the NGO who is behind the #Topowa campaign as they can explain the voters and information with passion, something Dr. Badru Kiggundu in the EC does not have. It is even hard to see him really smile to camera, think it was ages since he enjoyed his work and job. Therefore he should hire Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) with their #Topowa to get the message out. Though I don’t think Badru Kiggundu has the balls, stamina or independent mind to evolve and trust in CCEDU, as they are not loyal NRM cronies as themselves. Therefore this will not happen, but if they could travel around in the villages and major towns with their CSO/NGO machinery then they would have dropped the bomb of information on how to “honor your vote” which is basic and should be in the veins of the citizens. Something the NRM doesn’t seem to want to deliver to the public. Because they fear that won’t vote for them, and that is why they don’t educate them to vote, as that will contridict their usual message of fear, as they themselves fear their own citizens and their will. 

Peace.

Reference:
Citizens Election Observers Network Uganda (CEON-U) – ‘Pre-election Observation Report’ (January 2016)

“2016 may be worst elections in our history” – Written by Ibrahim Nganda Ssemujju

Kampala 16.11.15 UPF 2

On Sunday afternoon, a police patrol pickup truck full of officers drove to the residence of Kampala Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago to deliver some important information.This information was a letter from the Electoral Commission officially notifying Lukwago of the postponement of Kampala mayoral nominations earlier set for Monday November 16 and Tuesday November 17.Lukwago, being a smart lawyer that he is, asked the officer in charge of Old Kampala police station, Emmanuel Ochamringa, why it was him (police) and not an EC official serving him this letter.Ochamringa instead pleaded with the lord mayor to sign a delivery note so he could fulfill a command given to him by his superior. When Lukwago refused to sign, Ochamringa demanded that he surrenders the letter. I will spare you the rest of the story and go to the gist of today’s column, which is the credibility of the 2016 general elections.
I have argued in an earlier column that Gen Kale Kayihura has taken over the electoral process. There cannot be a better illustration than the one above. Not only was a letter calling off nominations for Kampala mayorship authored and delivered on a Sunday, but it was being transported by a police patrol pickup truck full of policemen.
Probably this letter was authored at the police headquarters or Kayihura simply summoned Electoral Commission chairman Badru Kiggundu from his weekend. Total connivance! Obviously this letter was supposed to be used as a tool the following day to stop Lukwago from proceeding to the Electoral Commission offices for nomination. And this is the game the Electoral Commission of Prof Kiggundu has been playing throughout.
The letter to Lukwago was signed by Kampala’s returning officer Charles Ntege, who quoted another letter signed by EC secretary Sam Rwakoojo. So, it is Rwakoojo who writes to Ntege and Ntege writes to Lukwago. Although delivered on Sunday (November 15), Rwakoojo’s letter was dated November 12 while that of Ntege was dated November 13. And these games started with Amama Mbabazi. When Mbabazi wanted to mobilize support for his impending candidature, Kayihura ordered him to seek clearance from NRM. That was partly before he chose to stand as an independent.

Kampala 16.11.15 UPF
In fact Kayihura organized a meeting attended by NRM electoral commission chairman Tanga Odoi and Attorney General Fred Ruhindi in which they agreed to block Mbabazi until he was cleared by NRM. When Mbabazi chose to go independent, Kayihura then connived with the Electoral Commission to stop him. Prof Kiggundu had at first cleared Mbabazi but made a U-turn and stopped him.The story of the FDC Rukungiri trip that was terminated at Kanyaryeru is another example. I am sure you still remember how police nearly killed us before it undressed our party secretary for environment. I have quoted all these examples to emphasize a point Col Dr Kizza Besigye has been making. We are not involved in an election. We are, in fact, in a struggle to rescue the state.
If anyone was in doubt, Prof Kiggundu has assured you. The professors at Makerere University played a pivotal role in the struggle for independence and almost dominated the post-independence politics. With the likes of Kiggundu in place, I think I won’t encourage my children to study a third degree. That professor, with a straight face, announced that he didn’t have regulations to guide mayoral nominations just last week. He is the same man that organized the same nominations and elections in 2011. He now could not organize them and was waiting for guidance from Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze!
And a few days later, the same Kiggundu is announcing that nominations can go ahead because he has held a consultative meeting with Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and Attorney General Ruhindi. And guess who else was in the meeting? It is singer and mayoral aspirant Dan Kazibwe, aka Ragga Dee, and obviously Jennifer Musisi.
With due respect to Ragga Dee, I think a consultative meeting between a professor and him to discuss regulations can only explain how low we have sunk as a country.

And that is why at our rallies as FDC, we are preaching three points: rescue the state, transform the country and then move to equitable development.

But most importantly, almost all of us involved in the electoral exercise are left with no option but to organize teams that will force Kiggundu to announce us winners.
I have a feeling that if Kayihura doesn’t like you; you may not be announced winner.

Written by Ibrahim Nganda Ssemujju

The author is Kyadondo East MP.