Stakeholders aim for electoral integrity ahead of 2026 polls

Sheema district Chairperson Jemima Buhanda addressing a district interface meeting discussing electoral integrity on May 22, 2024 . PHOTO/ZADOCK AMANYISA

What you need to know:

  • Uganda will hold its next general elections in 2026, five years after chaotic polls that claimed over 50 lives in 2021.

As Uganda prepares for the 2026 elections, stakeholders from three districts of Ibanda, Bushenyi and Sheema have embarked on activities that seek to enhance integrity in the electoral process to ensure free, fair and transparent polls.

Citizens from the three districts backed by Western Ankole Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), a local Civil Society Organization have held district interface meetings under the Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Elections program to address issues that undermine electoral processes in the area.

The move aims to avoid a repeat of electoral violence that has rocked the sub region in the previous elections, and also build a culture of electoral integrity according to WACSOF Executive Director, Apollo Lee Kakonge.

“We have been working on interventions aimed at increasing citizens' participation in legal, constitutional and political processes. Conversations with citizens in the past five months raised issues that require the attention of stakeholders,” Kakonge said on Thursday.

WASCOF maintains that district interface meetings are being convened to discuss and validate issues raised during the community-based citizen conversations with hope to develop strategies that will make Uganda's democracy more participatory, credible, and responsive to citizen needs.

Duty bearers will also make commitments to plug the gaps and bottlenecks that hinder transparent elections.

Ibanda District Chairperson Happy Herbert Mayanja says electoral integrity can only be realized if government institutions remain independent.

“We want to have a free, fair, and credible election in 2026, but how? By demilitarizing the electoral process. We don't need to see the army. We do not need to see the police in the election process,” he added.

On his part, Bushenyi District secretary for social services Edward Mpabwa stressed need for the government to invest in civic education

“Though we have a growing democracy, we have not set enough time to teach people how to vote and why they should vote. That’s why during polls, people are bribed with only Shs500 to vote. We need to have enough civic education so that people understand these things very well,” he remarked.

Uganda will hold its next general elections in 2026, five years after chaotic polls that claimed over 50 lives in 2021.