EC suspends CCEDU from LC elections

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Charity Ahimbisibwe (senior manager communications at CCEDU)

Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) has been suspended by electoral commission [EC] from observing the local council elections which kick off Tuesday July 10, 2018.

EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, accused the CCEDU coordinator, Crispin Kaheru, of conducting himself 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,” Justice Byabakama wrote.

He added: “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).”

He claims 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, a Senior CCEDU Communication official, who was also in the meeting with the Commission on July 2, 2018; Ms Charity 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 went on: “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.”

CCEDU responds

CCEDU said in a statement that it had opted out of 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,” Kaheru wrote.

He added: “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.”

This will be the first Local Council (LC) elections since the multiparty political system was restored in 2005.

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