EC suspends elections monitoring NGO

Incensed by the sustained criticism over the method of voting to be used in the July 10 LC 1 elections, the Electoral Commission (EC) has suspended Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU).
CCEDU, a grouping of more than 800 civil society organisations (CSOs) was suspended on the eve of the country’s first multiparty LC 1 elections since 2005 when Uganda turned to multiparty democracy.
It has been critical of the method of voting by lining up behind candidates which was introduced in 2015 with the amendment of the Local Government Act.

The NGO filed a suit in court challenging the Constitutionality of this method of voting. It got to the EC’s nerves when it further criticised last week’s women council elections.

The electoral body responded by suspending the coalition’s accreditation as partners in disseminating voter education and as election observers.

In a letter by EC chairman Justice Simon Byabakama to Crispin Kaheru, the CCEDU coordinator, the EC cancelled the NGO was suspended on grounds that it had failed to adhere to the EC’s legal frame work and guidelines.

“We are skeptical that it is in position to comply with objective voter education geared at promoting a process it doesn’t believe in. Many times CCEDU has acted outside the Electoral Observation Guidelines as set by the electoral commission,” Byamukama’s letter partly reads.

In a statement, CCEDU reaffirmed its opposition to lining up behind candidates as a method of voting in preference of internationally recognized standard of elections by secret ballot.

CCEDU’s statement in full.

As Ugandans go to the LCI polls July 10, the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (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.

CCEDU subscribes to the internationally recognized standard of elections by secret ballot; and that is why members of the Coalition petitioned the Constitutional Court, for an appropriate interpretation of the law.

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.