By Richard Tusiime, Specialised Program Officer, Governance and Policy Advocacy
12th January 2021 | Tooro Botanical Gardens | Fort Portal
In pursuit of free and fair elections, KRC has commissioned 60 election observers to monitor and report electoral proceedings in the Districts of Kabarole, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Bunyangabu, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Kamwenge and Fort Portal Tourism City.
This exercise follows KRC’s recognition by Electoral Commission of Uganda as a trusted partner in promoting civic education in the Rwenzori Region. The 60 election observers are part of KRC’s change agent network, trained, mentored and equipped with information and knowledge on citizen rights and obligations and civic duty to their nation. Civic Education under the Governance and Policy Advocacy Unit at KRC is a project funded by the Democratic Governance Facility with the aim to build civic competence and agency among the regions electorate and the entire citizenry.
Over the recent years, KRC has conducted a number of activities that aims at stimulating citizens’ participation in democratic governance and electoral processes. Road drives, community awareness meetings, face the citizens’ rallies and inter party candidates’ public debates on different radio stations in the region have been conducted to create awareness on the 2020-2021 general election road map as well as preparing the electorate in making informed decisions during the party primaries and general elections.
The commissioned election monitors will record and report about the time of arrival for polling materials, set up and opening of the stations, the polling process, behaviors and attitudes of citizens and security personals, compliance with instituted SOPs on COVID-19 prevention by Ministry of Health, enforcement of curfew guidelines, the counting process and signing of the declaration forms, transportation of the forms to the tally centers as well as counting of votes and announcing of winners at different tally centers.
Election observation is a universally acknowledged tool for promoting and enhancing democratic, free, fair and credible elections as provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil, Political Rights and guided by the Electoral Commission Act, Cap 140 of the Republic of Uganda.
During the election observation process, KRC will interrogate and ascertain compliance and acquiesces to the international, regional and national laws, regulations, polices and norms of the electoral process by the election officials, political parties, candidates, candidates agents, the security personnel, citizens/voters and other stakeholders as provided in the guidelines that govern the election process. KRC will monitor, document, document and coordinate response to dissuade election violence, fraud, intimidation to enhance voters’ confidence in the electoral process. KRC will also document good practices and obstacles to free and fair elections and make recommendations for engagement with various stakeholders including the government, political parties, the Electoral Commission and the citizens with a view to improving the integrity of elections and related processes in the future.