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Archive for the tag “Local Council Elections”

Uganda: Following government’s decision to conduct the Local Council 1& 2 elections by way of open voting (lining up), CCEDU has taken a position (15.01.2017)

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Your Excellency:

The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) is the broadest active civil society coalition on issues of elections in Uganda, bringing together over 800 member organizations spread across the country. CCEDU has since its formation in 2009 worked towards promoting a social and political system that enhances fair, equitable and transparent electoral processes in the Republic of Uganda.

Your Excellency, in July 2015, the Parliament of Uganda passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2014 providing for lining up behind candidates during elections of chairpersons for village (LC1) and parish (LC2) levels. The voting method brought in effect by the Bill was a departure from what was originally provided for in the Local Government Act, of universal adult suffrage through secret ballot. Then Minister of Local Government, Hon. Adolf Mwesige, argued before Parliament that the cost of conducting village and parish elections through the method of secret ballot was too high and had made it impracticable for the elections to be held since 2002. On this ground, Hon. Mwesige convinced Parliament to vote in favor of amending the Local Government Act to consider an open voting method – which he argued was realistic and more affordable for the country.

Your Excellency, while we acknowledge that the open method of voting for the LC I and II may be viewed as financially more affordable and does not involve the same amount of logistics that would be required to run a secret ballot vote, we wish to draw your attention to the following:

1)   Article 68 (1) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda sets a standard for voting at elections and referenda: “At a public election or referendum, voting shall, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, be by secret ballot using one ballot box at each polling station for all candidates in an election and for all sides in a referendum”.

2)   Article 25(b) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Uganda is a state party, guarantees “the right of every eligible citizen to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections held by secret ballot”, and grounds this in the notion that “voting by secret ballot guarantees the free expression of the will of the electors”.

3)    The Universal Declaration on Democracy, a declaration adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 161st session in Cairo on 16th September 1997 affirms the essential place of conducting democratic elections on the basis of universal, equal and secret suffrage for voters to choose their representatives in conditions of equality, openness and transparency that stimulate political competition.

Your Excellency, this implies that:

1)      It is a well-established practice that holding free and fair elections is one of the fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law; and the secrecy of voting remains a key aspect of free and fair elections. Government has a legal obligation to conduct public elections and referenda according to the standards set in the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

2)      Voters are not only entitled but also obliged to the secrecy of their vote. The method of voting proposed for LCI and II elections in which voters are required to line up behind their preferred candidates exposes the voters’ choice and violates this principle. As such, the open voting method does not safeguard the electors’ freedom of thought and their political and other beliefs. If Uganda is truly on a democratic path, then it should be seen to espouse a method of voting which ensures that the electorate is able to express itself freely and that elected representatives are truly representative, thereby contributing to public trust in the institution of local leadership.

3)      The proposed voting method violates the principle of anonymity of the voter. Freedom of opinion is endangered when a voter is prone to influence by threats of sanctions or reprisals. Open voting has time immemorial come with a lot of opportunity to influence or intimidate voters as they declare their choice by lining up behind their preferred candidates. In a country like Uganda where the population has over the years become deeply politically polarized, it is difficult to underestimate the influence and effect of fear of retribution that is embedded within an open voting system such as the proposed one. Within the context of Uganda today, the proposed method of voting is a ripe recipe of tension, vengeance and outright election-based violence – especially on the Election Day and in the aftermath of the elections.

4)      Free and fair voting principally demands that each voter makes an individual choice. Every person registered on the voters register must be able to express his or her choice in person, and this personal choice must be counted as such.  The mode of voting as prescribed under section 111 of the Local Governments Act, 2015 for village and parish elections is not consistent with this individuality principle and, in particular, constitutes a violation of gender equality and freedom of opinion.  The practice of open voting is reminiscent of days gone by of the reprehensible communal voting. In the Ugandan context, under an open voting system, it is likely that for instance, female voters may be unduly influenced to vote for candidates that their male counterparts, spouses or partners choose to vote for – for fear of catalyzing gender-based disagreement. In another case, for fear of going against their spouses’ electoral choice, female voters may decide to shun such open choice elections.  Modern societies including Uganda itself have denounced open voting methods as akin to primordial practices that infringe on voters own choice.

5)     Historically and contextually, electoral processes are highly prone to fraud and manipulation.  One of the primary reasons for the transition from ‘open’ forms of voting to the adoption of the secret ballot system in the 1800s was to help rid political systems of bribery.  Uganda is currently fighting the scourge of monetization of politics.  With an open voting system comes higher electoral stakes.   The higher the stakes, the higher the possibilities of voter bribery will be.  In effect, the possibilities of monetizing the local council elections that will be held under an open voting system remain high. The political players are quite optimistic of the eventualities very sure those voters are aware of the procedures and they will vote for them since it’s not secret.

Your Excellency, under Vision 2040, the Government of Uganda underpins the need for democracy as the anchor to transform the country. Similarly, the second National Development Plan (NDP II) recognises that without free and fair political and electoral processes, key development objectives cannot be achieved.  To this end, the NDP II proposes to institute mechanisms to strengthen credibility of electoral processes in Uganda and citizen participation in the electoral processes.

As the Fountain of Honour of our Nation, CCEDU would like to respectfully appeal to you, Your Excellency, to guarantee that:

  • The Government is indeed genuinely committed to holding free, fair and impartial elections; and considers such elections crucial for strengthening democracy and democratic institutions in Uganda.
  • The LCI and LCII elections are conducted in a manner that satisfies international and national legal obligations, commitments, practices and principles of; confidentiality of one’s electoral choice, anonymity and individuality of a voter. The elections must promote rather than undermine election legitimacy and integrity while reinforcing the notion of popular participation.

Your Excellency, CCEDU contends that the currently designated method of voting in the LCI and LCII elections not only fails to meet the constitutional and internationally provided for standards for conducting public elections, but is also fertile ground to foment conflict and sow seeds of discord in communities – thus undermining the hard earned peace, stability and unity in many parts of the country.

CCEDU appreciates that democratic electoral practices in Uganda are still affected by various national and contextual factors, traditions and limitations. While we recognize the importance of taking into account our country’s milieu and resource limitations, Your Excellency, we appeal against the latter being used as pretext for practices that undermine the basic principles of democracy and governing the conduct of free and fair elections.

Lastly, Your Excellency, CCEDU therefore proposes a more cost-effective option of the secret ballot method of voting in the LCI and LCII elections – in which voters record their (candidate) preference on a plain piece of paper in privacy – by way of writing or putting a thumb-print. We recommend the most basic form of secret ballot that uses standardized blank, plain or colour coded pieces of paper/cards upon which each voter marks his or her choice. Without revealing the choice to anyone, the voter in this case would fold his or her piece of paper with their marked choice and place it in a sealed ballot box. The ballot box is emptied later for the counting of the ballots. This method is not only financially affordable, but also preserves the secrecy of the ballot as well as expands possibilities for the electorate to participate in elections.

Dr. Livingstone Sewanyana

Chairperson, CCEDU Executive Committee

The Saga of delivering EC Forms to Dr. Kizza Besigye at the FDC HQ; the EC Offical had to drive to Kasangati! New Equipment for the Police and more! (23.02.2016)

M7 2016 Post Interview quote

As we have seen the promise of public holiday as the people can go to the polls tomorrow and vote for their local government leaders, though Kampala and other has to wait to 26th of February as they always deliver the voting material in the central region late in this election, it is much easier to get the polls in Abletong, Amuru and Gulu then in the central region. So it must be a reason why the elections of Lord Mayor and Local Government in Kampala will happen a day after. Certainly no public holiday as off now on that date as the NRM-Regime is fearing the opposition strongholds, as the Electoral Commission didn’t count or care about 1700 poll stations in the MPs and Presidential Election, Chairman Badru Kiggundu didn’t care about answering that or the Amuru declaration form that has come online, still he delivered numbers saying that his master President Museveni won the District. Surely, you can tell the Daily Monitor to Stand-down on the press conference since you have the police and army behind you.

New Equipment for UG Police 23.02.2016

The New Vehicles the Government can afford:

“Uganda security service squires new machine to counter the political unrests within the country. The brand new armoured vehicles are believed to have entered the country from China and the Uganda police force conforms this and says they are to be used with immediate effect” (TheDailycom, 23.02.2016).

Badru Kiggundu said this today at the press conference after telling the verified results and addressing; also telling the Ugandan people that the EC is ready for Local Council or Local Government Council elections tomorrow:

“Besigye is the only presidential candidate out there in the media trying to come out to refute the results” (…)”“he should not bother coming to the EC” (New Vision, 23.02.2016). Well, seem like first Mr. Kiggundu is deflecting the TDA/Go-Forward telling the world that the elections has been marred with wrongs and not a level playing-field, but hey, Badru only listen to Museveni cronies… that he tells that Dr. Kizza Besigye and the FDC should not go to the Electoral Commission and bother to do that. First Mr. Kiggundu he should first be allowed to walk out his house, before we talk about going to your office! But that is just me.

EC 22.02.2015 Guarded Heavy

Wafula Oguttu said this today:

“There is certainly something terribly wrong with the so called elections 2016. Up to now I have not seen a copy of the official declaration of my elections results, almost a week later. We have made several trips to the EC District offices to no avail .Every time we have been told lies. The latest lie is that the computer crashed and the data got lost! Even the presidential results for the district are lost”.

The Electoral Commission visited the FDC Headquarter today – Eyewitness said this:

“They came with Electoral Commission staff and the claim is that they are bringing the results from Electoral Commission. Our response is that these are not working hours and that they don’t need that heavy force to deliver the fraudulent KIGGUNDU results”.  This has been verified that Harold Kajja who recently was detained by being in the offices during the raid has said “no” to accept the Tally-Results from the Electoral Commission.

NBS 23.02.2016 Najjanankumbi

As it is written in theInsider:

“EC spokesman Jotham Taremwa personally traveled to the FDC offices in Najjanankumbi Tuesday evening” (…)”The opposition officials first locked out Taremwa and his group while police deployed heavily and took over the premises” (…)”Asked whether he was in touch with FDC officials, Taremwa said they told him only Besigye can receive the forms” (…)”Meanwhile, FDC deputy secretary came to Taremwa’s rescue and subjected the EC official to a couple of questions” (…)”“What is this?”, Harold Kaija queried” (…)” Taremwa explained that they were delivering the declaration forms from the just concluded elections” (…)”Kaija told Taremwa only Besigye would personally recieve the forms and no one else” (…)”“Why did you call me? You know Besigye’s agent.  You have his number”, Kaija shouted out” (…)”Taremwa suggested that they call any other official who could settle the predicament” (…)”After making futile calls, Taremwa resolved to drive to Besigye’s home in Kasangati and deliver the forms” (TheInsider, 2016).

The story continues:

“Electoral Commission (EC) Spokesperson Jotham Taremwa: I didn’t know Dr Kizza Besigye was in police custody. All I was told is to deliver these documents” (NBS TV, 23.02.2016). He has to know, he has been in detained for days and secondly I don’t believe that has not heard any media, radio or tv-station where it has been mentioned in recent days. Sorry brother, that is white-lie and we know you knew, you just wanted to save face and go by the sieged offices of the FDC instead of meeting the detained and house-arrested Dr. Kizza Besigye! That is okay, but please say it… And be a man as your a hired man by the authorities who holds FDC Officials, FDC Members and FDC supporters in detained and jail around the country. Show some pride instead of lying on TV and to the FDC officials at the FDC Headquarter.

Kasangati 20.02.2016

Special Eyewitness report on the 2011 Election in Uganda from Gitobu Imanyana;

“During the last general election in Uganda I was the head of the African Union election observer mission to Uganda. In an unprecedented holding we came to the conclusion that those elections were neither free nor fair and made recommendations for creating a level playing field for next elections. Our recommendations were trashed and I was involuntarily taken out of the hotel shortly after reading our mission statement and driven to Entebbe Airport where I was given “VIP protection” by security officers in the VIP Lounge until 4 pm when the Kenya Airways plane arrived and I was the first to board for the return journey to Nairobi. I am appalled that this election’s AU observer mission made no reference to our recommendations when they declared a fraudulent election “free and fair” (Imanyana, 22.02.2016).

23.02. NRM Celebrates Kampala

This election is marred with foolish yellow fever actions from the NRM-regime as the quagmire of actions is mirrored into the waters of the tears of the Ugandan people like now. That there supposed to polls for Local Government Elections and Polls around the country, though not in Kampala and Wakiso it seems, as that is the area where the Government has the most hassle of holding elections, as seen during the Presidential Elections and Member of Parliaments, while also the suspended elections during the first polls will happen in March this year to settle the last positions in the 10th Parliament.

23.02. NRM Celebrates Kampala P2

The most stupid is the way the Electoral Commission tried to deliver the papers of the result today to Forum for Democratic Change and Dr. Kizza Besigye. I believe he was sent home because the Police was informed of the actions from the EC and had to have him under house-arrest as it would be strange to deliver the papers to Naggalama Police Station or Kiira Road Police Post; what matters is that he is still under house-arrest and the police are besieged by them. As I have written before he is the epitome of what President Museveni isn’t; a legitimized leader who is the torn by him as he has the people behind him; while the President pays for loyalty as the celebration in Kampala shows, as the celebration was so made-up and with new mass-produced stuff and not look like credible collective mass of people. This here is just a sad view and should make the President think. That is because I don’t write about the President alone, I write about him as backhand flattery, as this is a story about the oppression of the FDC and Dr. Kizza Besigye, as he is the oppressor who doesn’t deserve any more credit than he has already taken himself with using the government tools to steal an elections and taken the country hostage while oppressing the opposition with using the security forces and the police, not only Besigye, but also other party members and FDC officials. Peace.

Reference:

TheInsider – ‘EC takes Besigye forms to FDC offices, locked out’ (23.02.2016) link: http://www.theinsider.ug/electoral-commission-ec-delivers-declaration-result-forms-to-besigye/

Office of the Prime Minister (ADM 285/01): “Offical Announcement” Public holidy as the Public goes to the Polls for Local Government Elections on 24th February in Uganda (23.02.2016)

OPM 23.02.2016 Announcement

Uganda – UCC-BD/Gen/03 – Letter – Re: Caution to Media Stations as we Approach Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections (08.07.2015)

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