250 sign petition against EC ban

Electictoral Commission officials and observers in Rukungiri polls recently

By Our reporter

KAMPALA. Over two hundred have signed a petition to Parliament seeking legislators to prevail over the Electoral Commission (EC) ban Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) from observing elections.

“More than two hundred fifty people have signed the petition forms that we have attached with a letter and handed to our lawyer Wandera Ogalo. He will write to the EC before taking the next course of action,” said Ms Ms Charity Ahimbisibwe senior communication officer CCEDU.

In a letter written early this week by the EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, the Commission suspended its relationship with CCEDU until further notice. CCEDU is accused of being partisan and discrediting EC during the concluded women council elections.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting at CCEDU offices in Nsambya, Thursday July 12th, 2018, Mr Ssewanyana said the suspension was not called for.

The EC claim that CCEDU has been conducting itself in a partisan manner which is controversial to the set guidelines to conduct voter education and other electoral activities.
“On July 2, 2018, the Commission met with CCEDU to consider your application to partner with us in conducting voter education for conducting for the ongoing electoral activities. In the meeting, the commission raised its concern about partisan manner in which CCEDU has been conducting itself in the past elections, which contravenes the provisions of S. 12 1 (i) ECA (Cap 140),” part of Justice Byabakama statement reads.

According to the statement, in the said meeting, CCEDU promised to revisit its work methods while in the field and in the press and adhere to the Election Observation Guidelines, for the benefit of all stakeholders in the electoral process.

“On the morning of July 4, 2018 Ms Ahimbisibwe, while on NBS TVs Morning Breeze — Topical Discussion segment, castigated the countrywide Village Women Council Committee elections that took place on July 3, 2018 as a sham. This was contrary to the big turn up registered countrywide and the public interest and yearning to have these Councils/Committee elections conducted after such a long time,” he adds.

EC says CCEDU has among others, proven that it does not adhere to the legal framework and guidelines of the Electoral Commission, which undermines objectivity and commitment in adhering to laid down standards of engagement as far as election related activities are concerned.

“The Commission and Uganda at large needs credible, honest and impartial partners to assess the electoral process and make pertinent recommendations. It is therefore upon this background that the Electoral Commission has suspended its relationship with CCEDU until further notice,” the statement concludes.

Upon receipt of the suspension letter, CCEDU cleared the air by stating that it had bowed out of observing tomorrow’s LC elections due to the voting method of lining behind the candidate.

“CCEDU wishes to re-affirm its earlier position that – it is opposed to the method of voting by lining up behind candidates as currently designated by the Local Government Act, and therefore will not observe the LCI elections,” part of the statement reads.

CCEDU subscribes to the internationally recognized standard of elections by secret ballot; and that is why members of the Coalition petitioned the Constitutional Court, for an appropriate interpretation of the law.

“We are also aware of the suspension of accreditation of CCEDU by the EC not to observe these and future elections – as well as to conduct voter education. We consider this to be a difference in work methods. Whereas CCEDU believes in exposing good practices and shortcomings to ensure a free and fair election, the EC believes that CCEDU should merely document and share findings. This is a matter we strongly believe can be resolved through dialogue,” CCEDU added in the statement.





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