Nine NGOs Accredited as 2021 Election Observers

Nine internal election observers have so far meant the requirements to monitor the 2021 general elections.

The Deputy Electoral Commission Chairperson, Hajjat Aisha Lubega identifies the groups as Intellectual Aid Network Uganda, Uganda National NGO Forum, Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) and Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM).

The others are Northern Uganda Transparency and Accountability Forum (NUTAFO), African Electoral Alliance, Future Africa Mission, Women’s Democracy Network-Uganda Chapter (WDN-U) and African Youth Development Link (AYDL).

According to Hajjat Lubega, the election observer accreditation committee received several applications from different groups seeking to observe the election but only 9 met the qualifications set by the Commission.

“There are quite a number pending approval. They have not met the qualifications yet, for example, they had not attached photographs of the people, had not attached their certificates and others,” said Hajjat Lubega.

She however, said they are yet to officially communicate to the successful applicants. Asked about the timeline for accreditation of the election observers, Hajjat Lubega said that they hope to complete the accreditation process in the next two weeks.

On Friday, the EC chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama said that they had started receiving applications from mainly internal election observers interested in monitoring campaigns, preparations for the election, polling, vote counting, results processes, and the overall electoral environment.

He was responding to a decision by the European Union (EU) in Uganda not to deploy election observers in the 2021 polls due to challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The European Union Election Observer Mission has been one of the biggest international election monitors in Uganda over the years. More than 120 election observers were deployed in the 2016 general election.

It is unclear whether other observers like the Commonwealth Observer Team, the African Union, and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will participate in the process given that the country’s borders are still closed with restrictions on movement. Byabakama announced the resumption of the electoral activities on Tuesday and announced a revised roadmap for the 2021 general elections.

The Parliamentary and Presidential election are scheduled for February 8th, 2021. Candidates are expected to campaign using digital platforms because of the Covid19 pandemic. Political Party and Organisations have embarked on the identification of candidates for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Committees Elections.

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