United States has cancelled its diplomatic observation of Uganda’s January 14 elections “due to the decision by the Electoral Commission of Uganda to deny more than 75 percent of the U.S. election observer accreditations requested.”
The U.S. envoy, Natalie Brown, said “With only 15 accreditations approved, it is not possible for the United States to meaningfully observe the conduct of Uganda’s elections at polling sites across the country.”
The development comes just a day before the general elections.
President Museveni has repeatedly said western elements remained hell-bent on meddling in Uganda’s internal election.
He further said western figures including diplomats in Uganda were quietly supporting his rival, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
Brown today said despite multiple requests, the Electoral Commission “provided no explanation for its decision, which it communicated mere days before the elections.”
The U.S. Ambassador added: “The purpose of a diplomatic observation of elections is to demonstrate our interest in a free, fair, peaceful, and inclusive electoral process. Diplomatic observers are not participants or advisors in the electoral process. Rather, they informally observe the conduct of elections, following strict standards of impartiality, non-interference, and compliance with local laws. The Government of Uganda has supported such U.S. observer efforts in multiple previous Ugandan elections. This makes the decision now to deny accreditation to all but a small, randomly selected handful of our observers all the more troubling.”
Officials told ChimpReports this Wednesday morning that elections will go on whether the U.S. and other foreign governments take part in the observation mission or not.
EAC Team starts work
Observer teams from the East African Community Election Observer Mission (EAC-EOM) were formally flagged off in Kampala this week.
The 22-man IGAD team led by Mr Siraj Fegessa arrived in the country on Monday, January 11, 2021 while that of EAC comprising 74 people arrived on Sunday.
Many of the observers have already arrived in the districts where they will be expected to monitor the electoral process – including Kampala, Masaka, Gulu, Arua, Mubende, Masindi, Soroti, Mbale, Mbarara, Kabale, Kasese and Moroto.
The EAC-EOM Head of Mission is headed by former Burundian president, Domitien Ndayizeye.
He said to ensure objectivity and impartiality, the observers had been drawn from all the EAC Partner States except Uganda.
“The EAC-EOM short-term observers are drawn from the East African Legislative Assembly, Electoral Management Bodies, Human Rights Commissions, EAC Coordinating Ministries and the Staff of the EAC Organs, namely the East African Legislative Assembly, East African Court of Justice and the EAC Secretariat,” said Ndayizeye.
Government has since shut down social media after Facebook disabled accounts of many Ugandans it said were involved in alleged manipulation of public debate ahead of 2021 polls.
The Women Situation Room, an African Union initiative that emerged in 2011 to monitor incidents of violence during elections, revealed that its eyes will be on 30 districts where elections were violent during the 2016 general election.
The regional situation rooms located in Mbarara, Soroti Gulu and Kampala, are a women led initiative established in Liberia during the 2011 elections and adopted by the African Union led by women and youth as a mechanism for monitoring violent and tense situations during elections.