CCEDU calls for Tolerance, peace and participation ahead of 2021

On Friday, February 14th 2020, a meeting that was called in preparation for the democratic party’s delegates conference ended in a fist fight between some youths who are divided along political bigwigs within the party. The battle lines within the DP have been drawn on several fronts: namely, those who want to be the next party President and candidates who want to stand on DP ticket.

Three people Ms Brenda Nabukenya, Mp Muwanga Kivumbi and Mr Lubega Mukaaku have all expressed interest in being party president and each have supporters within the party. However, there have also been accusations that some party members are in the DP, but actually subscribe to the ideals of people power and the NRM.

These accusations have led to the use of inflammatory language between party members and it has somewhat bordered on hate speech. As political parties, the electoral law is very clear on defamatory speech and intimidation by candidates while conducting campaigns. According to the Presidential Elections Act section 23(3) and the Parliamentary Elections Act section 21(3):

 

DP's Brenda Nakubenya: Photo Credit: Bukedde

A person shall not, while campaigning, use any language which constitutes incitement to public disorder, insurrection or violence or which threatens war; or (b) which is defamatory or insulting or which constitutes incitement to hatred.

Hate speech, intimidation, and violence are some of the traits that have characterized internal political party politics since the 1996 elections to date. In the past violence only seemed a preserve of national elections, but in the recent past CCEDU has documented increased violence in local by-elections like Arua, Bugiri and Hoima and has seen an increasing trend of violence and intimidation in party primaries.

CCEDU appreciates the fact that Political parties are organizing to participate in the 2021 elections, however, political party actors should be seen to embrace the democratic value of tolerance and peace rather than violence and intimidation. Tolerance for diverse views, should be harnessed as an indicator of political maturity. Political maturity is a cornerstone for sustainable development. Inflammatory or abusive language only serve to draw divisive lines and promote political intolerance. Therefore, CCEDU implores political actors to use respectful language that promotes peace and participation from all quarters.

Elections and electoral processes by their very nature are contentious and tense so anything ranging from fist fights to abusive language can be sparked, if there are no deliberate steps taken by the leaders to promote, peace and tolerance.

It would be commendable if political parties developed policies on peace, reconciliation and tolerance. Violence and intimidation in political parties can partly be attributed to discontent, frustration, mistrust and disgruntlement among the electorate and political actors. Unity at party level should supersede fractionalism so that healthy intra-party relations are developed.

 For more information. Dail 0794 444 410 or send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information and voice interviews:

Contact the Acting Coordinator Charity Kalebbo Ahimbisibwe – 0794 444 409

Or Hon.Dr Miria Matembe- The Chairman Board of Directors CCEDU- 0774 612019

On Friday February 7th 2020, the Electoral Commission announced that the display of the National Voter’s Register will start on 19th February and end on March 10th, 2020.

The display exercise is very critical to every Ugandan who is 18 years and above because it is the last opportunity to ensure you will vote in the 2021 elections. Besides the National Voter Register display exercise, the Electoral Commission will also display the registers for the special Interest groups, namely: Youth, Person’s with Disabilities and older persons of each village. The display of the special interest groups will start on 19th February and end on 28th February 2020. For the young people who may find it cumbersome to visit display centres engage in the process through the EC online portal.

Why it is important to participate:

It is important to participate in the process because as a voter;

  1. You get to check and /or correct your particulars on the voter’s register
  2. You get to confirm that your information is matched well with your photograph on the register. From past experience it is very possible for a person’s biodata to be matched with a wrong picture. This causes a lot of unrest on polling day and at times the presiding officer might ask a voter not to cast their vote. But if such an incident happened it would not only affect one voter, but two. The one who owns the picture and the one that owns the information. Therefore, to secure your right to vote, it is imperative that you participate in the display exercise.
  3. The display exercise will ensure the particulars of the dead, or those who ;left a certain electoral area maybe because they went to work abroad or they shifted is removed.
  4. The display exercise will ensure that Ugandans aged below 18 years are removed from the register.
  5. The exercise will ensure that those who do not reside or originate from a parish are removed from the register.
  6. The display will also ensure that those who may be registered in another polling station are removed.
  7. And the exercise will ensure that those who appear twice on the register are left to only appear once.

The exercise as described means that a lot of changes and corrections are going to be made on the register, but it differs from the update process because this time round the display officers will not be registering new voter’s but will just be verifying facts concerning voters.

CCEDU Chairperson Hon. Maria Matembe

The Electoral Commission has hired display officers to manage the display of the National Voter’s register and the special interest group registers. The display officers will be trained between 11th and 17th February 2020.

Political parties should take advantage of the display exercise to mobilise their supporters to check that their details are accurate on the register. This will increase participation of the electorate in the exercise, but it will also promote transparency of the process. Political parties should also pay special attention to the training of display officers.

The electoral commission at the stakeholder’s meeting promised to institute the parish tribunals to advise on any issues of contention or recommendation needed to have a clean register. The tribunals will be comprised of two elders (60 years and above) and 3 other members appointed in consultation with political parties/organizations participating in the elections.

The 2021 election is largely a youth election, and it is our most singular opportunity as young people to let our voices be heard through the ballot, but it starts with verifying that we are on the register.

CCEDU remains committed to help, in case you find any difficulty during the display exercise. Simply dial 0794 444 410. And CCEDU shall be at hand to help out or send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

For more information and voice interviews:

Contact the Acting Coordinator Charity Kalebbo Ahimbisibwe – 0794 444 409

Or Hon.Dr Miria Matembe- The Chairman Board of Directors CCEDU- 0774 612019

On 31st March 2019 the President of the Republic of Uganda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni assented to the Human Rights Enforcement Act, 2019. The Act guarantees the entrenchment of human rights in the way the Uganda Police Force enforces law and order. The Act emphasizes personal liability of Police Officers who violate the rights of Ugandans.

Over the years, from several human rights reports, the Police has largely been implicated for perpetuating torture, violating the right to fair hearing and on some occasions locked up suspects beyond the mandatory 48 hours.

The journalists under their umbrella body Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ ), Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) and the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association have issued statements calling for the expeditious inquiry into the cases of journalists who were beaten up in the course of duty as they covered the Makerere University riots last week and this week.

 

The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), wishes to add its voice on the position of the journalists that a free press is a hallmark of democracy, which the Police should be seen to promote not to curtail. CCEDU calls upon the wider public and all people interested in the growth of democracy in Uganda to support the media in their call for fair hearing. Police officers who brutalized journalists in their course of duty must be brought to book.

Today, November 4, 2019 a Kingdom TV journalist, Kiberu Siraji was badly beaten up and taken to an unknown destination by the Police. The Journalists mounted pressure on the police for two hours to secure his release. Kiberu is a not a lone case, over 10 journalists have been beaten up and locked up in Police cells in unknown places, for reporting about the Makerere University strike. The beating of journalists is unfortunate and a breach of the Constitutional rights guaranteed in Chapter 4 of the Ugandan Constitution.

CCEDU demands that all Police officers who engage in acts of brutalizing journalists be subjected to the due-course of the law immediately. The state should not be seen to condone human rights abuses, when there is a legal regime to curtail abuses.

The Human Rights Enforcement Act seeks to restore dignity, reputation and the rights of the victims who have been abused and those of close persons connected to them. The Act also seeks to ensure that there is no continued violation of human rights and freedoms.

Based on the press freedom guarantees enshrined in the Constitution of Uganda and the Human Rights enforcement Act, CCEDU demands that the rights and freedoms of journalists be restored by expeditiously carrying out an inquiry into the abuses meted on journalists. Government should also reaffirm its commitment to defend the rights of the press unequivocally.

For God and My Country

For more information about CCEDU contact Charity Ahimbisibwe on +256 794444409 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. visit our website at http://www.ccedu.org.ug.

For radio and TV clips kindly call Dr. Miria Matembe - +256 774 612019

By Charity. Kalebbo. Ahimbisibwe

On Friday, October 11, 2019, I met a group of young people called Vijana in Makerere university to discuss the 2021 elections.

We discussed a wide-range of issues mainly concerning youth participation, the highly monetized elections and how that impedes youth participation in elections and we ended by talking about the Electoral Commission National Voter update.

 

I asked the young people if they knew that on November 21, 2019 the Electoral Commission will commence on the National Voter Update? They said they had not heard about it.

It then occurred to me that it was not only the youth who had not heard about this very significant activity of the electoral
calendar, but many voters’ at large.

I impressed it upon them, that update of the national voters’ register is the
determining factor of who will vote and who won’t. The update provides an opportunity for citizen’s to confirm their names on the register.

 

On Friday October 11, 2019, at Imperial Royale Hotel, the Electoral Commission held a national stakeholders workshop, where they explained to participants what the national voter update entails. After the national stakeholder’s workshop, the EC held the regional workshops from Monday October 14, 2019.

These were conducted for two days.

After the regional stakeholders’ workshops on the voter register update, the Electoral Commission will carry out village mobilization
campaigns between October 18, and October 20, 2019.

The EC will then conduct village council meetings between
October 21, 2019 and October, 28, 2019.

We can all help ourselves, by pushing out this message to our village WhatsApp forums and through various village meetings.

 

The update process will give an opportunity to citizens to scrutinize and identify their particulars in the Electoral Commission database.

What normally happens is that people think this process is not important because they have voted before and, therefore, should be on the National register; this is a wrong assumption.

Each election comes with an update and display process, because some people would have died, others might want to change polling stations, others might want to vote from their places of birth and all these processes cannot be achieved except you personally make it to the voter update.

 

The update process will be all encompassing for the youth, who elect their leaders through the electoral college system, the people with disabilities who have a special representative in parliament and all citizens who are 18 years and above.

 

For all citizens who may want to stand as candidates; it is important to encourage all your voter’s to participate in this process.

 

CCEDU intends to observe these process through our countrywide infrastructure. The observation will take place at district, regional, parish and village level.

The idea will be to keep track of the process in terms of the training and briefings for the participants, to establish if the process has been adequately published by the electoral commission, all complaints
are resolved and meetings are held at village, parish, district and regional level.

Apart from observation, CCEDU will utilize its nation-wide 927 civil society organisations to disseminate information about the update process.

CCEDU already blasted messages to its membership alerting them of these important processes.

The village council meetings will have a returning officer, a village chairperson, a village council resident or residents, sub-
county supervisors and parish supervisors, plus the ordinary voters’. Ugandans need to be vigilant right from village level as these processes take place.

At village level there will be scrutiny of the voter’s register to clearly identify who is on the register.

 

Those who will be deleted, it will be a unanimous position that they are dead or they have shifted to vote from the cities where they live.

 

There are still challenges that afflict the national voters register. Complaints of ‘ghost’ voters remain. Some of the glitches could be technical, arising from how the national voters register is managed – especially after the passing of the Registration of Persons Act, 2015.

 

The writer Ms. Charity Ahimbisibwe (R) and the EC Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama.

The public needs to renew their keen interest on registering for national Identification cards (ID). However, CCEDU notes with concern that there is not the same enthusiasm to register deaths – when they occur. Equally, there is not the same fervor to deregister voters who are no longer eligible such as persons who have relinquished Ugandan citizenship.

This potentially leaves ‘ghosts’ on the register. It is difficult to confirm or contradict the allegations of ‘ghost voters’ and on the 15th March 2018, Jinja East Constituency by-election, CCEDU observed the complexities that arise from streamlining the electoral roll with the National Identification Register.

In order to rid the voters register of any ineligible voters, the Electoral Commission and the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) need to collaborate with the wanainchi (citizens’), especially with regard to publicizing on-going citizen registration exercises, alongside articulating the importance of the registration of deaths and of persons who
have left the country or denounced Ugandan citizenship. Citizen vigilance from village to national level will be central in framing a clean and credible national voters register ahead of the 2021 elections.

The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology can also play a pivotal role in making e-government platforms available to increase
awareness among citizens about the voter update process. UBC and its countrywide network, plus all other media can collaborate with CCEDU and we put out exciting messages for the good of Uganda’s democracy.

The government will have to encourage open and meaningful support from local leaders, citizens and civil society in this regard.

The writer is the Head of Communication and Advocacy at the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda, CCEDU.

 

CCEDU has taken note of the concerns raised by members and sections of the public on its Hoima District Woman MP by-election statements, issued on Thursday 26th September 2019 and Friday 27th September 2019. We respect your opinions and we thank you for continuously holding us to very high standards of expectation.

We wish to clarify that our preliminary statement was released during polling and the vote counting exercise. The second statement was published after polling and upon the Electoral Commission (EC) announcing the results from the by-election on the morning of Friday 27th September 2019.

We therefore appeal to our members and the public to review both statements in context.

Crispy Kaheru 

As modus operandi,CCEDU is set to issue a detailed report of what our Election Observation Mission (EOM) observed in the Hoima District Woman MP By-election conducted on 26th September 2019.

 We will share our detailed report with our stakeholders at the earliest opportunity.

 For God and My Country.

 Crispin Kaheru

Coordinator, CCEDU