Monday, February 28, 2011

Brief on elections

18th of February 2011 marked the begining of the election cycle in Uganda, with presidential and parliamentary elections coming first.

In order to follow with the election cycle, ACFODE staff and members were dispersed in different parts of the country to observe the election process; since the organisation is a stake holder in over seeing good governance and fronting for democracy in the country. Below is a brief account of some of the responses that ACFODE observes brought forward about the Election Day:

There was a large deployment of security forces on voting day.

Many voters with voter cards were turned away from polling stations because their names could not be found in the voters’ register.

A good number of polling officials did not seem to have adequate training or confidence to perform their responsibilities and as a result procedures were not properly followed.

In most polling stations visited, some teams observed general low voter turnout in the first six hours of voting; less than 50% of the voters had cast their votes.

The capacity of the Election polling personnel to manage the voting process was inadequate. In some cases they did not have sufficient knowledge and skills on voting operations.

This was exemplified by slow voting process, unsealed ballot boxes and abdicating the role of guiding assisted voters to unauthorized personnel including the police and members of the public and even some local government officials for instance L.C chairpersons.

Secrecy of the ballot was also compromised in most polling stations since the basins were placed so low that someone near by would clearly see what was going on.

Some polling stations put into considerations helping pregnant women, the elderly, the sick and young mothers. This was however was abused by some women since who ‘borrowed’ children claiming to be mothers so that they would be excused from lining up in long queues

There were cases of violence identified; especially amongst different part representatives.

The presidential and parliamentary elections were followed by those for mayors and councilors. Unlike in other districts where they went on well,the Electoral Commission suspended the elections in Kampala, citing widespread irregularities and possible outbreak of violence among supporters of rival candidates. The elections were however postponed to 14th, March 2011.

Hope this time they will be successful.

Submitted By Sandra Nassali

Public Relations & Communications Officer

Action For Development