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.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora