Women political activists have been challenged to lead discussions on election financing as a way of tackling election violence.
The Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah told the women activists under the Women Situation Room (WSR) Uganda 2021 that they have the potential to shape the discussions to end election violence.
“Let us go back to the root causes of election violence. People sell land, houses and property to contest in an election and in the end, they are left with nothing. Winning an election is now a do or die. We all want peaceful elections but desperation causes violence,” he said.
Oulanyah who met the women in Parliament on 12 October 2021 also encouraged them to participate in the processing of electoral reforms saying that their input will inform their interventions during and after elections.
“Since 1994, Parliament has been legislating on electoral reforms. Women Situation Room would be the best resource in the processing of these reforms. They would identify the gaps in elections and capture them,” said Oulanyah.
He also called on the activists to exercise objectivity while documenting and reporting on cases of election violence. He said that majority of the reports focus on state actors as the perpetrators and yet there are incidences where security personnel have fallen victim of violence.
“You need to take a strong view on acts of violence by anybody. If you do not stigmatise bad conduct in elections, people will continue with violence like it is business as usual,” Oulanyah said.
Judy Kamanyi, a member of the WSR Uganda 2021 said that they have started engaging the relevant state actors to nurture peace and tolerance in the next general elections.
“We have met with the Electoral Commission, Human Rights Commission, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces and Police Force among others. We have also met majority of the political parties and we are developing strategies on how to have peaceful elections,” she said.
Kamanyi also outlined a five year plan of the WSR including; building public confidence in electoral process, improving inter-generational relationships, improving and maintaining relationships between civil society organisations and government, building trust and confidence in security personnel and empowering youths to promote peace building.
The overall objective of the WSR Uganda 2021 is to promote the full and active participation of women and youth in ensuring peaceful elections in Uganda.