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Press Release: CCEDU – Preventing Electoral Violence A Civic Responsibility for All (06.01.2015)

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The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) applauds the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda for adding his voice on the campaign for a peaceful, free and fair 2016 general election through his Press Statement dated 5th January 2016 (titled, “Maintaining peace, unity and security during and after elections”).
CCEDU has noted with concern that electoral violence remains a serious threat to the February 18th 2016 elections as evidenced by some of the incidents that have so far happened during the on-going political campaigns (recent clashes between candidates’ supporters in Ntungamo and Gulu). These cases of election-related violence continue to create a sense of terror and uncertainly among voters. And should such incidents of violence increase, questions on whether Uganda is capable of holding free, fair, peaceful and representative elections will inevitably emerge.
There is also worry that millions of nervous Ugandan voters could stay away from voting due to fear of violent attacks, threats or politically motivated intimidation.
CCEDU therefore calls upon parties and candidates to desist from acts that could orchestrate unnecessary anxiety and violence during the campaigning and voting period. Election stakeholders including the Uganda Police Force must demonstrate professionalism and impartiality in maintaining electoral security during this period. The Electoral Commission must dispense its mandate in a balanced and professional manner, calling each of the candidates and stakeholders to fully account for their actions/inactions.
CCEDU urges all political parties and candidates to desist from mobilising youth groups and militias to fuel fears or actualities of electoral violence. In the same breath, CCEDU calls upon government to seriously rethink its decision to utilise informal outfits including: ‘crime preventers’, ‘polling detectives’ for the purpose of providing election related security as this could further raise anxiety and possibly invite conflict, violence and chaos in the country. Ugandans have the right to vote in peace and all stakeholders are duty bound to take all necessary measures as provided in our laws to defend and protect that right.
Electoral violence and partisanship of institutions that should otherwise be guarantors of a free electoral environment are an obvious disincentive to participation in elections for both voters and those who wish to offer leadership. Ultimately, this undermines every effort at building a truly democratic country based on the supremacy of the people choosing their leaders. It also weakens state and non-state institutions that scrutinize elections, and hurt the legitimacy of the government of the day.
It is therefore, important that as the Prime Minister rightly points to opposition players in the election, government should equally urge its institutions to ensure utmost impartiality by working strictly within the ambits of the law. Local, regional and international institutions should therefore intensify working towards (timely) prevention of electoral violence ahead of the February 2016 general election in Uganda.
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Press Statement: AfDB marks World Statistics Day – “Better Data. Better Lives” (26.10.2015)

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The African Development Bank (AfDB), one of the leading institutions driving statistical development progress in Africa, joined the world in celebrating World Statistics Day on Wednesday, October 20, 2015. The theme for this year’s event was “Better Data. Better Lives”.

Each year since 2010, World Statistics Day provides a platform for the global statistical community – producers, suppliers, users and all relevant stakeholders – to showcase their achievements and ongoing statistical work. This year’s celebrations follow a significant decision by world leaders to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “The SDG agenda provides the political impetus and will help to shape the course of statistical capacity development in the years to come,” said Oliver Chinganya, Manager of AfDB’s Statistical Capacity Building Division.

As part of the celebrations, the AfDB Statistics Department held a series of seminars from October 19-23, 2015 with the aim of showcasing statistical activities already underway within Bank’s Statistical Capacity Building (SCB) program. Also highlighted were future programs planned in response to the current demands of the Data Revolution and the post-2015 development agenda.

The Bank’s SCB program is expected to gather momentum in response to the UN’s clarion call to harness the Data Revolution in order to enhance sustainable development. This will entail more data communities coming together and collaborating in a sustainable manner in the context of a data ecosystem.

Reliable and timely statistics are crucial for formulating policies that can positively impact the lives of millions of people. Without the numbers, development impacts cannot be measured. “Improved data sources, sound statistical methods, new technologies, and strengthened statistical systems continue to be actively promoted and financially supported through the AfDB’s Statistical Capacity Building Program,” observed Chinganya.

He underlined the importance of accurate and timely statistics being freely available to all stakeholders when they are most needed.

Through its ground-breaking Africa Information Highway (AIH) initiative, the AfDB provides free and open access to all stakeholders including the public, the Bank’s regional member countries, civil society organizations, academic and research institutions, UN agencies, and the media.

The inaugural World Statistics Day was declared by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2010 to recognize the importance of statistics in improving lives.

Acholi Youth Agenda Press release: “PI ROCO KI DWOKO DEYO PA KAKA” (31.07.2015)

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Press Release 31. July:

Who are we?
We are Acholi youth. We are not an organization or a political party affiliated group nor are we any political party sympathizers. Acholi Youth Agenda is an ideology that stems from the belief that Acholi Sub Region should not have this abject poverty, 83% youth unemployment, high HIV- AIDS prevalence, the current surge in malaria deaths, loss of respect for culture and identity, maternal health challenges, infrastructural depreciation, moral decay, social deconstruction….. And yet there is an abled people, a knowledgeable elite and a hardworking people that must act and act now!
We stand to welcome developmental initiatives which are sustainable in meeting the current needs of the people without compromising the abilities of the Future Generation of Acholi. On the other hand we stand to constructively condemn, refute and disassociate from acts, resolutions and alignments that fail the purpose of our coexistence as Acholi but rather meet the interest of political heads and that of persons as stakeholders.
Regardless of our political affiliations (which some of our individual members subscribe), there is a road with a pot hole waiting for any of us, there is a unequipped and failed health care system waiting for us, there is a sorry education system of UPE, USE and the dysfunctional University etc to nurture our children, there are widespread land conflicts to the disadvantage of all of us and above all, there is our proud identity to lose. The questions in Acholi are too big for politics alone to answer. It is rather one of a committed Acholi for Acholi. We need a new wave of thinking that shall develop and protect our interest. Acholi Youth Agenda is the new thinking.

• What is the new thinking and why
Every generation has a mandate to fulfill. The pre- war Acholi under the Janani Luwum (R.I.P), Adimola (R.I.P), Okeny Tiberio (R.I.P) and Erinayo Oryema did their part in keeping our land and identityintact during tough times of armed struggles, the war time leaders ushered in with a politics that cooled down the LRA war and achieved the Peace at hand. It is therefore time for a new wave of thinking to usher in conventional approaches to post war questions which a united Acholi has not yet addressed their minds to.
1. Don’t you and I have the potential to mobilize and organize fellow Acholi to realize that our commitment to governance issues makes us check our leaders and improves service delivery?
2. We have often times been neglected, noting the clear irresponsibility exhibited during the days we were in camps and the nodding syndrome and now the uncoordinated planning on use and ownership our land.
3. Can you and I walk the talk? And make demands as equal bonafide citizens of this country? The talk that we have a constitutionally granted power to influence policy, that we definitely need change?
4. Can we translate our good speeches and emotional talks to tangible and constructive action towards change? Than parading coffins on streets and moving youth to Karuma and above spreading hate speech with no tangible results.
5. Don’t we have what it takes to be in charge of this region and country?
6. Can’t we question the failed unity of our leaders? We are gifted with the Acholi Parliamentary Group, Professors, LC5 chairperson’s forum, Acholi In Diaspora andabove all Ker Kwaro Acholi but what have they done to unite us? Are we united?
7. Can we safe guard our interest by having a regional demand that any government that comes into power has to respect and undoubtedly meet?
An organized Acholi needs an agenda for which she lives to achieve. We appeal to Ugandans and International community that the acts of marching with and Burning coffins on streets of Gulu was not generally the collective voice of the Acholi, the acts of Marching to Karuma by hoodwinked hired crime preventers to block Rtd. Brig. John Patrick Amama Mbabazi or any other Politician was not the voice of the Acholi, the current ridiculous and abusive media talk shows by self-styledacholi politicians are not in the interest of the Acholi as a generation BUT chauvinistic, opportunists and political party puppets and we as the informed young generation of this land ask that the above acts and injustices to be utterly condemned. Even the threats to arrest us should be condemned to the greatest terms. We have the freedom of speech and expression and for our people ass the Acholi, we have an enormous responsibility to utter the ordeals that is often ignored by the very people who should be our trusted and beloved leadership. We condemn the recent arrests of our colleagues in Jal fresh. The will and quest of the people shall never be arrested for we shall stand as a support so constant to it that generations shall stand to remember.

Where do we see Acholi going?
The life and living we need shall only be got once we get assertive on demanding from our leaders the social services we need.
Given our youthful nature, even when not mobilized, political rallies, debates and politicking have given us a chance to play, shout and demonstrate to our peers and to the whole world that we are tough, eloquent, indomitable, courageous, have what it takes, among others.
We have been used, exploited, sidelined and left to rot. The Acholi get attention only during election. Using their money, Political leaders mobilize us, use us, mock us and lie to us. But despite their insincerity, we are limited by choice but serve them as way of survival or identity. Political leaders never appreciate the contributions of the Acholi yet we present a good tax Base, we contribute to the country’s bread basket.

How do the youth get practically involved?
The practical involvement of the youth is rather low and the political arena continues to be dominated by older generations. The interests of youths are often not adequately reflected in decision-making and in the design of important policies.
We have all come to the realization that the current government is preoccupied with sustaining itself in power at whatever cost; that this government can no longer perform the roles that decent governments ought to perform. The presidents’ leadership cannot deliver the Uganda we envisage; it is an order too tall for him to deliver. He does not represent the future that Uganda deserves; surprisingly, we have equally lost faith in the current opposition political parties and their leadership. Some opposition leaders are in bed with the ruling government.
Every minute that passes with the current regime in office, precious Ugandan lives are lost to preventable diseases, staggering amounts of money are stolen with impunity, millions of children are condemned to a bleak future by an inept Universal Primary Education, stunted growth and disunity is sowed through tribalism, nepotism and favoritism.

Conclusion
This has gone too far. It is time for positive change. It is time for a new wave of leadership. One for us all and from all of us.

The members of Acholi Youth Agenda among others (Authors of this document)
1. Mr. Jomeo Richard – Youth activist
2. Rt. Hon. Fred Ongom –Dep. PM Gulu University
3. Mr. Andrew Ogwetta Otto – former Guild President Gulu University.
4. Hon. Oginga Odinga – councilor Tegwana Pece Division
5. Mr. Okot Thomas Lutuku – Media activist
6. Ms. Amony Francesca –Women activist
7. Mr.PayiraBonie – journalist at Jal fresh 96.9
8. Mr Langwen Peter

Latest updates on Kasese-Budibugyo atttack – Rwenzuri militants (not ADF)

 

It’s been movement on the ground. President Museveni has spoken and the Rwenzuru King has also said his piece. First Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga and then before I tire you, to you sleep. Please continue to read!

Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga put the actual number of deaths during the siege are now 92(Okello, 2014).

Here is his statement to this Thursday in Parliament:

“The characteristic  of the events that unfolded show that some people in our society still hold firm beliefs in witchcraft, can easily be duped into criminality and can be very callous  in causing death to their brothers and sisters. The attacks took place on Saturday 5th July between 2 PM and 4 pm in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko. The main targets were police and army positions, wananchi in the case of Kasese, the palace of the Obundingya wa Bwamba and sSanbic bank in Bundibugyo. The attackers were mainly armed with spears, pangas sticks and some guns with the main objectives of getting guns and money. The places attacked in each of the affected districts are; In Bundibugyo the places attacked included; Kanyamirima barracks – 5 kilometers from the town of Bundibugyo, Bundibugyo town where the stanbic bank and the palace of the Omundigyawa Bwamba were key targets. Kirindi shrine,Ntandi and Katumba. In the district of Ntoroko the attacks were at the trading centre of Kibuuku and the police station in Karugutu town council. While in Kasese, the places affected are; a weighbridge opposite KCCL factory on the highway from Kasese to Bushenyi and the villages of Bigando and Ibuga. An estimated total number of 92 people are reported to have lost their lives which include, four police men, three soldiers, three wananchi and 68 attackers in Bundibugyo district, in Ntoroko, one soldier and one wananchi were killed while in Kasese district, 13 people were killed, one police man, one soldier and 11 wananchi lost their lives” (Okello, 2014).

Rwenzuru king Charles Wesley Mumbere statement:

First the Rwenzuru Prime Minister Noah Nzaghale and Minister of Tourism Erisa Mwincubere were taken by the Police at 9 AM at the Office of the Kingdom in Kasese.

The Kings statement: “that the people who attacked on Saturday should be part of his Kingdom’s enemies who did not want him recognized and that they may be looking for means of having the government abolish the institution”(…)”warned government from being biased in handling cultural issues in the Rwenzori region but rather take the task of leading or mediating the reconciliation process”(…)”the decision to arrest the Prime Minister and other officials was hash because no one in the Kingdom including himself is willing to be interviewed at peace as police continue hunting for the wrong elements”(…)”He does not recall agreeing with the president over the matter because his subjects are across the region” (Red Pepper, 2014).

Kings friend Tom Stancy comments: “the United Nations had granted the Bakonzo a state called the Yira Republic. Yira is another name for Bakonzo. On this Mumbere said that document was authored by some of the people who have for a long time opposed the Rwenzururu Kingdom” (Red Pepper, 2014).

Minority Rights Group Africa (MRGA) responds to the attacks:

“Condemns the weekend attacks in Ntoroko, Kasese and Bundibugyo districts in Rwenzori region in Western Uganda which claimed the lives of at least 72 people, including numerous civilians, two soldiers and three police officers”(Matovu, 2014).

Jolly Kemigabo MRGA Office Manager says: “We all know there are historical injustices suffered by some ethnic groups like the Basongora who lost land, but the government has failed to resolve their issues”(…)”The government, with the involvement of all stakeholders, has to push for peaceful co-existence while addressing deep-seated inequality and discrimination leading to the political and social exclusion of minority ethnic groups”(…)” Such steps should include resettlement or compensation for evicted communities, and the economic empowerment of marginalized groups” (Matovu, 2014).

President Yoweri Museveni blames security agencies:

“Fortunately, today Uganda has got a capable State that is able to deal decisively and expeditiously with such schemes although, of course, there was a failure of intelligence. How did these people weave such a scheme without being pre-empted? What were the GISOs doing?” (Kasasira, 2014). Veteran Security Chief David Pukol commented: “What had become of our intelligence agencies? May be everybody is looking at Kyankwanzi resolution, President Museveni’s fifth term and they have forgotten about Al-Shabaab? This intelligence failure has baffled us. It sends a wrong message” (Kasasira, 2014).

I will keep you more updated when I see more news or reports on the matter that fits.

Peace!

 

Links:

Kasasira, Risdel (10.07.2014) – ‘Rwenzori attacks: Museveni blames intelligence organ’ (the Citizen.co.tz) Link: http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Rwenzori-attacks–Museveni-blames-intelligence-organ/-/1840340/2378786/-/qvgdu8/-/index.html

 

Matovu, Mohammed (10.07.2014) – ‘To calm ethnic tensions in Rwenzori region, government has to address specific needs of ethnic minorities’ (Minority Rights Group)

Link:http://reliefweb.int/report/uganda/calm-ethnic-tensions-rwenzori-region-government-has-address-specific-needs-ethnic

 

Okello, Dickens Honeywell (10.07.2014) – ‘Kiyonga: Why Rwenzori Militants Attacked Defence Installations’ (Chimpreports.com)

Link: http://chimpreports.com/index.php/mobile/special-reports/23361-kiyonga-why-rwenzori-militants-attacks-defence-installations.html

 

Red Pepper (10.07.2014) – ‘Rwenzururu King Speaks Out On Rwenzori Attacks’ (Redpepper.co.ug)

Link: http://www.redpepper.co.ug/rwenzururu-king-speaks-out-on-rwenzori-attacks/

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