CCEDU in trouble over 2021 elections report

The NGO Bureau has given the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) up to June 15, to provide an explanation of how it produced a 2021 election observation report when it was not accredited by the Electoral Commission (EC), Stephen Okello, the NGO Bureau executive director has said.

On May 28, CCEDU, a coalition of civil society organizations advocating for the betterment of electoral democracy in Uganda launched a report that has rattled the EC.

Charity Ahimbisibwe, the executive director CCEDU, said on Friday last week in an interview that the report would be uploaded on the organization website.

The EC complaint, Ahimbisibwe said, came after they (CCEDU) invited the electoral body for the report launch but the EC wrote back saying that they would not attend the launch since CCEDU wasn’t accredited to observe the election.

Electoral Commission did not caution CCEDU against the launch but quickly wrote to the NGO Bureau.

“The purpose of this communication is, therefore, to inform you of this development and caution against the said launch since the organization (CCEDU) was not accredited to observe the said election,” the acting EC secretary, Leonard Mulekwah’s letter to the NGO Bureau executive director partly reads.  

On the same day, NGO Bureau ED wrote to Ahimbisibwe a caution letter.

“This letter serves to caution you against the said launch since you were not accredited for the said exercise.”   It was the same day when the report was being launched.  

Okello’s letter got to CCEDU May 31, four days after the report was launched.

“It came too late… by the time, the letter fromo NGO Bureau came on Monday, we had already launched on Friday,”  Ahimbisibwe said.

 CCEDU defends its election observation activities. Charity argues that it’s part of CCEDU’s core mandate.

“When we went to the meeting with NGO bureau, it was discovered that the mandate of CEEDU is in three areas; election observation, whether we have accreditation from electoral commission or not, it’s our mandate,” she argued.

“A mandate is a thing that you are legally registered to do. It’s our mandate to observe elections whether we have accreditation or not,” she added.   

But it’s only the Electoral Commission that can accredit election observers, according to Section 16 of the Electoral Commission Act.       


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