News / Africa

    Observers: Uganda Elections Marred by Democratic Shortcomings

    Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanj, right, greets former Zambian President Rupiah Banda after a news conference held by Commonwealth Observers team in Kampala, Feb. 20, 2016. Obasanjo heads Commonwealth Observers and Banda heads the Electoral Inst
    Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanj, right, greets former Zambian President Rupiah Banda after a news conference held by Commonwealth Observers team in Kampala, Feb. 20, 2016. Obasanjo heads Commonwealth Observers and Banda heads the Electoral Inst
    Jill Craig

    Observer missions in Uganda released their findings of the 2016 electoral process Saturday, finding overall that the elections suffered from democratic shortcomings, while still remaining largely peaceful.

    Election observers from the African Union, European Union, the Commonwealth, and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), among others, released their preliminary findings Saturday in Kampala before the final Ugandan election announcement was made.
     
    Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo led the Commonwealth observer mission to Uganda, and said that "while the presidential elections were competitive with regard to the number of candidates," freedom of movement and assembly affected the fairness of the campaign for opposition candidates.

    'Fell short'

    “These elections fell short of meeting some key democratic benchmarks … namely, the increased prevalence of money in politics, the misuse of state resources, which led to significant advantages for the incumbent, and the confidence, credibility, and ability of the electoral commission to manage the process effectively and impartially," Obasanjo said.

    WATCH: Related video with election observers

    International Observers Find Fault With Uganda Electionsi
    X
    February 20, 2016 4:58 PM
    Chief election observer Eduard Kukan praised Ugandan voters for their commitment to the electoral process, but criticized the Electoral Commission for failing to effectively communicate steps that would have been needed to overcome "growing tensions caused by markedly delayed delivery of the voting material."

    Sophia Akuffo, Ghanian Supreme Court justice and head of the African Union observer mission, said the delays in ballot papers arriving at polling stations was quite "inexcusable."

    But Akuffo also said she was impressed by Ugandan voters.

    “I commend them for their patience and their fortitude and their determination to exercise their votes, because it was hot, humid, and very, very confusing at some of the polling stations that we went to and of course, the materials were late," she said.

    Stronger electoral provisions

    Rupiah Banda, the leader of the EISA mission, and former president of Zambia, urged for stronger electoral provisions to guard against the use of inflammatory and intimidating language during the campaign.

    “As an African, I want to underline the very point of inflammatory language. We just have to learn to express ourselves without showing bitterness and anger, be it by government authorities or leaders, or those prepared to participate in the elections," Banda said.

    The observer missions plan to later release their final reports.

    • Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanj, right, greets former Zambian President Rupiah Banda after a news conference held by Commonwealth Observers team in Kampala, Feb. 20, 2016. Obasanjo heads Commonwealth Observers and Banda heads the Electoral Inst
    • Uganda's electoral commission announces imcumbent President Yoweri Museveni the winner in Thursday's election.
    • Ugandan riot police stand close to dejected opposition supporters to prevent them from demonstrating, shortly after the election result was announced, in downtown Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
    • A supporter of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni celebrate as the electoral commission declared Yoweri Museveni the winner of the presidential election in capital Kampala, Feb. 20, 2016.
    • Ugandan police block the media and others from accessing opposition candidate Kizza Besigye, as he remains under house arrest at his home in Kasangati, outside Kampala, in Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
    • An electoral worker delivers boxes to a district counting center in Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
    • Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo gives observers a briefing in Kampala, noting numerous faults before and after voting, Feb. 20, 2016. He said the group's final report will be released later.
    • Lidya Wanyoto, a representative of ruling party National Resistance Movement, is pleased with the results, Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.

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    Comments
         
    by: Madina J from: Kampala Uganda
    February 25, 2016 2:43 AM
    I think we have to look at our foundations as Africana at large, and then deal with the roots, we used to take over leadership by killing and stealing .So now we have the peaciful way to it,,,, There is still a long way for us in Africa to have faith in the electoral votes' results. Check out in 99% of the Nations of Africa where voting takes place. Especially the opposition sides never accept defeat. But all in all even in America, there are people who closed out for voting. So voting issues can never be 100% pure, that''s why we use the term fair not good in elections. I say congs to the presidents in Africa ( Uganda, CAR, Burundi etc ) for being re-elected again. Even Moses, who was directly Chosen by God to lead Israel,,, faced oppositions and many never believed in Him.Even till now,,, many do not believe in God the Creator,,,! So is the world,,, we live in.

    by: Madina J from: Kampala Uganda
    February 24, 2016 2:07 AM
    Out of the about 62 districts, Mr. Besigye won in less than 10 districts with Kampala and including 3 army barracks, all this was read out and declared to the electoral chair. Mr. Museveni won in 40 and more districts, can't we use our brains to tell the winner of presidential seat in Uganda? Why can't the foreigner observers hardly say any positive side of the government? The truth can never be burred for life. Lets be honest with all we post on here. For God and My Country Uganda.

    by: Anonymous
    February 21, 2016 3:04 PM
    USA and EU should bring maximum pressure they can and ensure that this backward dictator stops his dirty tricks and buffoonish approach to governance. USA trains and provide arms to the regime terrorizing the people. USA supports Uganda in many sectors. They should cut off all funding to police and the much personalized army. No civilized country should recognize this vote rigging regime, most Ugandans wont. The next five years will be plagued by oppression and without people support and donor support the regime will fail and it should. Such a regime it brings shame to the people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.
    In Response

    by: James from: Kenya
    February 24, 2016 2:37 AM
    the powerful Democratic Countries like USA,UK, Australia, Canada and many others. Why should you accepted Mr Museveni as the President elect? yet he forced himself win the election. To we Ugandans we see to the matter as we are in an democratic society.
    In Response

    by: Madina J from: Kampala Uganda
    February 24, 2016 1:55 AM
    The HELP OF UGANDA COMES FROM GOD, UGANDA CAN DO WITHOUT USA, IN MOST DISTRICTS MUSEVENI WON AND IN LESS THAN 10 DISTRICTS BESIGYE WON. SO MOST UGANDANS, WE ARE HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS, ONLY THAT THE HAPPY PEOPLE ARE NOT EMPTY TINS/BRAINS TO MAKE A LOT OF NOISE. LETS LEARN TO RESPECT THE AUTHORITY, IT ALL COMES FROM GOD.

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