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EU to Monitor Implementation of Electoral Reforms

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Deborah Malac, the US Ambassador to Uganda, said some of the issues pointed by EU are similar to those pointed out by the report issued by the US several weeks ago. She urged Uganda to take up the recommendations in the spirit of partnership and democracy.
Officials from the European Union present the final findings and recommendations at Hotel Protea in Kampala on Thursday

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The European Union Elections Observer Mission to Uganda has disclosed plans to establish a mission in the country to follow up on the implementation of electoral reforms.

Eduard Kukan, the EU Chief Election Observer, disclosed the move while releasing the final report of the European Union Elections Observer Mission to Uganda on the February 18 presidential elections.

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Kukan observed that the just concluded elections were marred by intimidation of voters, opposition leaders and media practitioners. He argued that the 2016 elections took place in a challenging political environment and exposed significant division between the state apparatus and large parts of the population.

According to Kukan, in the midterm of the electoral circle, the EU Observer team will scrutinise what has been done, steps taken to improve the elections and what legal amendments are in the pipeline. 

He says if nothing is done on the recommendations, EU shall express serious concern, which may hurt the good partnership with Uganda. In its final report on the 2016 polls, the European Union Elections Observer Mission makes 30 recommendations. However, the Mission singles out 11 recommendations, which it says should be given priority.

They include the establishment of a transparent selection and appointment process for Electoral Commissioners, repealing provisions in the public order management act, which empower police to disperse meetings, stipulating steps taken to differentiate the state from the ruling party in an electoral context and introduction of a state subsidiary to ensure a level playing field for both the presidential and parliamentary election among others.

Deborah Malac, the US Ambassador to Uganda, says some of the issues pointed by EU are similar to those pointed out by the report issued by the US several weeks ago.  She urges Uganda to take up the comments and recommendations in the spirit of partnership and democracy.

Crispy Kaheru, the Coordinator Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy-CCEDU says the recommendations by the EU are not any different from what the opposition and civil society have been calling for from the 2001 elections to date, adding that this shows the relevance of Electoral reforms and why they need to be addressed.

In the run up to the 2016 polls, opposition leaders and civil society activists pushed for electoral reforms in vain. Some of the key electoral reforms being agitating for by the opposition and civil society are the establishment of an independent and impartial Electoral Commission, a clean and verifiable voter's register including Ugandans in the Diaspora.

Other are withdrawal of the army from the electoral process and establishment of a mechanism to monitor and prevent raids of funds from central bank, ministries and international assistance accounts among others.