The European Union wants to have 20,000 Ugandans monitoring polling stations during the presidential election on February 23rd. This will be Uganda’s first multi-party election in decades. Five candidates are in the race -- incumbent president Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement; Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change; John Sebana Kizito of the Democratic Party; Miria Obote of the Uganda People's Congress; and Abed Bwanika, an independent candidate.
Ambassador Sigurd Illing is the head of the EU delegation in Kampala. English to Africa’s Ruby Ofori asked him why 20,000 monitors are needed. “There are 20,000 polling stations. So far already there are 10,000 local observers who have been identified and we think it would be good to have 10,000 more so there are no polling stations left completely out.” Asked how the presidential race is going, Ambassador Illing said he would not “dare” comment about that, but he did say that overall “the election is much more open than some people might have thought three or six months or a year ago, where everybody expected that this would be hands down for the president.”