“NRM primary elections chaotic, lack clear voters’ registers’ at 99% polling stations”

CCEDU deployed 2,062 observers at each of the 2,062 sub-counties ahead of the NRM Member of Parliament Elections held on 4th September 2020.  The nationwide polling stations by the NRM were not clearly stipulated, as such, to capture a nationwide picture of the election; CCEDU deployed one (1) community observer at the 2,062 sub-counties of Uganda.  

Whereas the political temperature for the NRM primaries was high, voters were disappointed by the way the process was handled at 1, 820 polling stations observed. 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. However, the NRM as one of the leading political parties in Uganda opted for Lining up as the means of voting. Voting means making informed choices without undue influence, which lining up promotes.

The question of registers:

At 2,013 polling stations observed the voters’ register was not consistent. There were yellow books and people who were being registered by hand by an NRM official. But even those that were not registered were allowed to vote; some even joined the lines when others were on them. At all the 2,013 polling stations observed, the number of voters was only announced at the end of the polls not at the beginning. The NRM poll officials at all these polling stations asked our observers to wait until the polls end for them to announce the people on the register.

At 621 polling stations, you were only allowed to vote, if the LC 1, knew you, or else you would be turned away. 

 Voter bribery:

At 1,096 polling stations observed, voters were being bribed with as low as sh1,000, some sh2,000, others sh5,000, sh10,000 and the groups; of boda bodas were being given fuel at petrol stations, women groups, youth groups and SACCOs were being given sh50,000. The voters at all the 1,096 polling stations observed after receiving the bribe the voters’ were shown who to vote. The lining up voting system promotes monetization of politics because usually such an election comes with higher electoral stakes. Candidates bribe the voter knowing that if they don’t vote for them they will see that they actually did not line up behind them. At the NRM MP primary elections, voters were taking funds from more than one candidate and in the end a number of voters decided to keep away from the polls. A precedent of voter bribery set by one of Uganda’s biggest political parties is unfortunate. Lining up comes with a lot of opportunity to influence or intimidate voters as they declare their choice

 Cancelled elections and chaos due to gangs:

At 986 polling stations observed, there were organized gangs that precipitated chaos at these polling stations in favour of their candidates. These gangs were observed in Kiboga, Bugembe, Jinja, Mayuge and Iganga.  The election in Sembabule was highly contested with chaos observed and elections cancelled in two constituencies where the supporters of the strongest contenders from powerful families started fighting. Otherwise the polls in Lwemiyaga went on well. The woman MP for Sembabule was also elected. In Rubaare, Ntungamo district there was tension and live bullets fired by security personnel when voters of Naome Kabasharira and Mwesigwa Rukutana tussled it out. 

Standard Operating procedures:

At 954 polling stations observed voters showed up with masks, but not all of them wore them. There were no hand washing facilities or sanitizers and the voting system did not allow for social distancing. 

At 320 polling stations, people with disability and the elderly were provided seats at the polling stations and allowed to join the lines when others were already on the line.

Time for voting:

At all 2,062 polling stations observed, polling was supposed to start between 10:00am to 11:00am, but at 2,011 stations, polls started at 11:30am. Meaning the time stipulated for the polls was not very clear to the voters. At these 2,011 polling stations 20% voters arrived after the election of the Women MPs and were allowed to vote in the open seat election.

Gender aspects:

Due to a predominantly patriarchal society. It was observed that the NRM primaries provided for male and female seats.  At 987 polling stations observers reported that only females competed for the Woman MP and men for the full MP seat.

The Secrecy of the Vote:

Voters are not only entitled, but also obliged to the secrecy of their vote. The method of voting in the NRM Primaries, in which voters are required to line up behind their preferred candidates exposes the voters’ choice and violates the principle of secrecy of the vote. As such, the lining up method does not safeguard the electors’ freedom of thought and their political and other beliefs. If political parties such as the NRM, are truly on a democratic path, then they should be seen to espouse methods of voting which ensure 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 political party leadership.


As a means of growing its own democratic systems, the National Resistance Movement Electoral Commission of the Party should be seen to operate independent of the National Chairman’s influence and the Commission should also be impartial and never to be seen to support some candidates against others. The method of election, which is lining up incites conflict and sows seeds of discord in communities. Lining up, presupposes that everyone who is going to vote has to be in that line from morning up to when everybody is done, therefore, NRM should consider returning to a secret ballot method of voting so that voters are not disenfranchised.

For more information contact CCEDU’s National Coordinator/Executive Director, Ms. Charity Ahimbisibwe on +256 794 444 409 or e-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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 the Chairperson of CCEDU, Hon. Dr. Miria Matembe – +256 776 612 018

CCEDU relied on a total of 10,029 members to mobilize the electorate to participate in the Special Interest Group (SIG) elections. Besides rallying participation, trained CCEDU members also tracked the SIGs election exercise with specific focus on determining quality of involvement by various election stakeholders and establishing if the standard operating procedures as stipulated in the Electoral Commission guidelines were followed.

SIGs elections saw the representatives for People with Disabilities (PWDs) and the Youth elected at village/zone or cell level. The elections were by Electoral College and the second set of elections will be conducted at Parish level. For the 2021 PWD Elections, only 382,577 PWDS are registered voters and  are set to participate in all the scheduled elections.

Nomination: All 10,029 observers reported that nominations were carried out at sub-county level; therefore, the PWDS who did not have transport to the sub-county were left out of the exercise. To make matters worse, forms had to be picked and returned at the sub-counties. Although there was no need for nomination fee or qualification to participate in these elections; many PWDS were left out of the election. There were no specific days gazetted for the nomination of PWDs in 9,652 villages observed. The nomination was done alongside that of other groups, which was not favourable for PWDs because some of them had to move for days to access the forms.

Despite the amendment of the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) ACT 2006 to include people with albinism and the little persons, 9,032 observers reported these groups and the deaf and blind were segregated by their physically disabled colleagues and most of the posts were taken by the physically disabled.  2,106 observers reported party agents picking nominations forms for different persons without their permission, filling them for them and then convincing them to stand on Election Day.

On Thursday August 13, 2020, PWD elections were conducted with considerably very few people showing up to vote. 6,234 of CCEDU’s 10,029 observers reported that there were as low as between eight to 10 voters at each of the polling stations observed.

All 10,029 observers reported that information for PWD elections was poorly disseminated with adverts running largely on radio and yet all the deaf could not access this information.

Also due to lack of information, 8,612 observers reported that voter’s mistook the national PWD elections with the NRM primaries. Some of them even claimed they registered in the NRM primaries elections, but their names were not on the EC registers.

4,312 observers reported that their registers only had three registered voters on them hence at their polling stations, out of the 5 positions only 3 were filled by those on the register one being a woman. This points to the fact that some voters missed the voter register update process.

5,689 observers reported that the voters did not know the candidates they were going to elect in the PWD elections. 3,452 observers reported that some voters’ names were wrongly spelt on the register, but they were corrected by polling officials and were allowed to vote.

All 10,029 observers reported that there were five posts contested for at village/cell level namely; chairperson, vice chairperson , treasurer, secretary and publicity; at 7,098observers reported unopposed candidates for all these posts in the PWD elections and 4,115 observers reported that for each of the five posts 2 were women and three men.

8,127 observers reported that by 11:00am polling stations were closed with no polling officials and the participants were back to the sub-county headquarters to sign the declaration forms.



CCEDU deployed a member in 10,029 villages of Uganda, although the Special Interest Group elections were conducted in 68,740 villages across Uganda.

Youth Elections

The village youth Committee elections were conducted on August 17th 2020 and the youth Voter’s register had 7,846,373 registered voters. This statement, therefore, presents polling day procedures in the face of COVID-19.


Key observations:

l3,045 observers reported that registered voters did not find their names on the voters’ register and they were directed to try and find their names at other polling stations.

l 9,528 observers reported that the elections were by lining up and the turn-out was much better than in the PWD and Elder Persons village elections.

l At all polling stations observed, polling officials followed the procedures.

l 8,117 observers reported that all posts in the youth elections had candidates, but not all political parties fielded candidates. National Unity Platform was largely reported in Urban Centres, but in the villages it was mainly NRM and FDC candidates that were reported.

l 938 observers reported violence in the elections observed.

l 243 observers reported that polling was cancelled at their polling stations because Electoral officers kept telling the youth that it is only NRM that is allowed to participate in the election. Some of the enlightened youth resorted to causing chaos and as such polls were repeated today August 18, 2020 in some places like Kiboga and in other places they were postponed. Misinformation of the voters’ in a multi-party dispensation amounts to excluding them from a process that the Constitution gives them a right to participate in. This means the process in such instances falls short of internationally accepted standards of conducting elections.

l 8,407 observers reported that standard operating procedures were not observed during polls at the village youth elections. With young people pushing themselves in queues and they were not wearing masks.

l 7,223 observers reported that there was one EC official at polling stations observed and some polling stations did not have polling constables.

 As a leading player in advocacy for electoral reforms, observation of general and by-elections and civic/voter education campaigns, the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) observed the Special Interest Group Elections to promote the integrity of electoral processes by detecting and deterring electoral malpractices. CCEDU has a special mandate to observe Elections in conformity with the relevant international instruments governing election observation and the Constitution and National Laws of the Republic of Uganda[1].

Launched on 19th August 2009, CCEDU

 is a broad coalition that brings together over 927 like-minded civil society organizations and over 27,000 individuals to advocate for electoral democracy in Uganda. CCEDU’s vision is to realize a Uganda where the principles and practices of electoral democracy are upheld. Its mission is to advance integrity and citizen participation in Uganda’s electoral processes. CCEDU carries out its work in all districts and regions of Uganda. In line with its vision, CCEDU observed the Special Interest Group Elections focusing on nomination, campaigns and Election Day processes namely: Arrival of voters; availability of Electoral Officials, women versus male candidates, standard operating procedures due to COVID-19.



CCEDU observed that the electoral procedures were generally followed in the village PWD and Youth Elections, however, standard Operating procedures as laid out in the EC guidelines were not always followed and yet COVID-19 cases have continued to rise. The youth were especially vigilant and at some polling stations begged the observers to stay until the end of polls. CCEDU applauds the electoral commission for organizing a largely peaceful process with a few lapses at polling stations observed.


CCEDU recommends that efforts geared to increase voter education in the communities be seriously considered by the Electoral Commission ahead of the Parish Elections. CCEDU appeals to the Electoral Commission to employ village mega phones to pass on the much needed voter information ahead of the Special Interest Group Elections at Parish Level.

The unfortunate reports that members of the opposition were denied a chance to participate in the village youth elections in Kiboga, Namisindwa and Luweero require the Electoral Commission to sensitize their officials that national elections are open to people of all political dispensation because Uganda subscribes to a multi-party democracy. Misinformation of the voters’ in a multi-party dispensation amounts to excluding them from a process that the Constitution gives them a right to participate in. This means the process in such instances falls short of internationally accepted standards of conducting elections.

CCEDU Contacts:

Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda

Website: www.ccedu.org.ug

Phone: 0794444410

Facebook: @CCEDU Uganda

Twitter: @cceduganda




[1]The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda is the primary law in Uganda; it has provisions in governing elections. The constitutional provisions on elections are buttressed by statute law contained in;The Persons With Disabilities (PWD) ACT 2006, The National Youth Council ACT 2010. The Local Governments Act 1997 as amended, The Electoral Commission Act Cap. 243. The Political parties and Organizations Act


NOTICE IS HEREBY given that the Annual GENRAL MEETING (AGM)of the Citizens’ Coalition For Electoral Democracy in Uganda will be held on the 31st August, 2020 on Zoom and a few people at the CCEDU offices on Galukande Close Muyenga starting at 8:00am
The purpose of the meeting is to transact business set out below:

1. Opening prayer and singing of National and East African Anthem

2. Adaption of the Agenda

3. Opening and Welcome remarks from the Chairperson Board of Directors

4. Review of the minutes of the previous AGM

5.Presentation of the Annual Report

6. Presentation of the Treasurer’s Report

7. CCEDUs’ 2021 Electoral Activities

8. Tour of new CCEDU premises

9. A.O.B

Invitation is open to all CCEDU Members and special considerations to adhere to the COVID-19 Ministry of Health Standard Operating Procedures has been made.


CCEDU is seeking a National Coordinator (Chief Executive Officer). The National Coordinator will be the primary head of the CCEDU Secretariat and will provide vision and leadership for CCEDU’s programme and administration activities. He or she will design and implement CCEDU’s strategy, and provide overall managerial guidance to operationalise the Coalition’s legislative reform advocacy, voter education/mobilisation and electoral process monitoring plan. The National Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring that CCEDU undertakes strategic interventions to increase citizen participation, promote transparency and integrity in Uganda’s electoral processes. He or she will support optimised performance and ensure all statutory and other legal requirements and obligations are met.


JOB TITLE                              :     NATIONAL COORDINATOR, CCEDU


 CATEGORY                           :     MANAGERIAL


 GRADE                                  :     CCEDU 1.0




ABOUT CCEDU                     :

Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) is a registered Ugandan consortium of civil society organizations and individual members founded on 19 August 2009. Since inception, CCEDU has remained a leading player in advocacy for electoral reforms, monitoring electoral processes and executing innovative voter education campaigns in Uganda. CCEDU’s day-to-day business is managed by the Secretariat with registered offices in Kampala, Uganda, East Africa. The Head of the Secretariat (National Coordinator) manages all secretariat staff and reports to the Board of Directors. The Membership Platform is CCEDU’s highest decision-making organ – and convenes annually.



CCEDU is seeking a National Coordinator (Chief Executive Officer). The National Coordinator will be the primary head of the CCEDU Secretariat and will provide vision and leadership for CCEDU’s programme and administration activities. He or she will design and implement CCEDU’s strategy, and provide overall managerial guidance to operationalise the Coalition’s legislative reform advocacy, voter education/mobilisation and electoral process monitoring plan. The National Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring that CCEDU undertakes strategic interventions to increase citizen participation, promote transparency and integrity in Uganda’s electoral processes. He or she will support optimised performance and ensure all statutory and other legal requirements and obligations are met.



  • Provide overall coordination of CCEDU’s program, finance and administration portfolio;
  • Oversee the design, implementation, and evaluation of CCEDU’s program strategies and activities;
  • Ensure the highest quality of program monitoring, evaluation, reporting and communication;
  • In coordination with the CCEDU Board of Directors, identify, recruit and hire CCEDU staff as well as consultants;
  • Recommend policies, controls and procedures to guide and deliver optimum performance;
  • Ensure execution of program and administration tasks in a timely manner within the allocated financial plans;
  • Oversee preparation and presentation of financial reports to the CCEDU Board of Directors as well as to internal and external partners;
  • Serve as the primary representative of CCEDU with local and international stakeholders including cultivating collaborative working relations with key state and non-state actors to ensure timely and successful achievement of the Coalition’s goals;
  • Provide general supervision, management and mentoring of CCEDU secretariat staff, including performance appraisals, staff development and other management issues;
  • Perform other duties as may be required of this office.



  • A minimum of a Masters Degree in a relevant field preferably in Political Science, Public Administration, Laws, Human Rights, Business Administration, International Relations, or International Law. Any other qualification is an added advantage.



  • A minimum of 10 years working experience in the democracy and governance field, including a minimum of five (5) years of experience with election-related administration and management – at senior managerial level.



  • Strong interpersonal, and communication skills to effectively coordinate with CCEDU’s broad profile of stakeholders;
  • Good staff and team management skills;
  • Good appreciation of local (Uganda) and regional (East and Southern Africa) politics and development issues;
  • Strong administrative and financial skills;
  • Proven ability to mobilise resources, identify new business opportunities and partnerships.



  • Strong advocacy abilities, including experience with one-on-one advocacy with high-level policymakers;
  • Ability to prepare reports, formulating positions on issues, articulating options concisely, making and defending recommendations;
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle multiple tasks.



  • CCEDU will offer an attractive market related/clean-wage bill salary and conditions commensurate with the qualifications and experience to the successful applicant.
  • This is a three (3) year contract position, subject to renewal depending on performance and availability of funding.



Candidates meeting the stipulated minimum job requirements should apply by sending a motivation letter, detailed Curriculum Vitae, copies of academic and professional certificates, and traceable contact details of three referees not later than Friday 14th August 2020, to:

Chairperson, CCEDU Board of Directors

Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU)

Plot 2876 Galukande Close, Muyenga, Kampala

P.O. Box 11027 Kampala, Uganda


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   or       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • CCEDU is an equal opportunity employer. CCEDU is also committed to preventing any type of unwanted behaviour at work including sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, lack of integrity and financial misconduct. CCEDU expects all staff, volunteers and consultants to share this commitment.
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
  • For more information about CCEDU, please visit: https://ccedu.org.ug

Civil Society Organization, Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CEEDU) wants government to develop a temporary legislation to strike a balance between political and health rights of stakeholders in the 2021 general election.

The new development came out of a stakeholder meeting between the parliamentary committee on Legal affairs and CCEDU, over the election roadmap which was recently released by the Electoral Commission (EC) ahead of the 2021 elections. The meeting was held in parliament on Thursday.

According to the Mrs. Charity Ahimbisibwe, the Coordinator CCEDU, the roadmap which was released by the Electoral Commission, contradicts almost all electoral laws in Uganda and as such, a special legislation is required to harmonize the existing laws with the proposals in the revised roadmap.

The revised roadmap which is meant to cater for disruptions due to the covid-19 pandemic has however generated public debate with stakeholders questioning it’s legality, fairness and exclusivity it offers.


In a document presented to the committee, CCEDU says that government should develop a ‘Special Arrangements Bill” aiming to ensure the safety of voters but also to safeguard political rights of stakeholders in the 2021 elections.

Charity said, the bill has to look at all the regulations that govern elections including the Presidential Elections Act, Parliamentary Elections Act, Political Parties Organizations Act, Electoral Commission Act, the Public Order Management Act and the Penal Code, to align them with the prevailing situation of the covid-19 pandemic.

However, CCEDU underscored the need to emphasize that the developed bill will from the beginning, be legal and sufficient only for the upcoming elections and do not suffice beyond 2021, since the situation could change.

Alternatively, CCEDU says, the comprehensive guidelines being developed by the Electoral Commission could be compressed into a legal instrument, presented to parliament and given a force of law to govern the forthcoming elections.

CCEDU says, without such an arrangement, the election roadmap in its current form, may lead to gross violation of rights of citizens. They also say, the credibility of the 2021 election is at risk.

CCEDU also suggest urgent need for civic education aiming at promoting civic participation and engagement in the forthcoming elections. They say that the limited time allotted to crucial electoral activities is likely to infringe on rights of Ugandans.

They also propose a review on certain legislation including the Computer Misuse Act and the UCC Act which they claim empower government to determine what citizens post on social media and likely to curtail some individuals access to information and media space.