What you need to know:
- …a clean register that is transparent, accurate and inclusive will allow eligible voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote.
I will begin with Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markel’s words “When we vote, our values are put into action and our voices are heard. Your voice is a reminder that you matter because you do, and you deserve to be heard.’’ What one has to know is whatever technique you apply, it should not be violent because the dead don’t vote.
On October 6, the Electoral Commission announced organisation of fresh elections for the district chairperson Kayunga. The seat fell vacant after the death of the elected district chairperson Ffefeka Sserubugo.
The Electoral Commission approved the programme to conduct by-elections to fill vacancies which exist in Local Government Councils in at least 110 districts across the country.
The by-election programme commenced with an update of the National Voters’ Register from October 22 to 26 at the parish/ward level in each of the affected electoral areas. In the last election Kayunga District registered 190,977 voters, of these 100,816 were female, 90,161 were male.
The youth were 77,853, of these 39,557 were female and 38,296 were male contributing to the 7,392,676 million youth voters on the general register that had 18,103,603 voters over all. Kayunga is one of the districts that registered violence during the campaigns and after elections in the 2021 General Elections.
Uganda has a total of 29 registered political parties, among these, so far two have expressed interest in the seat- National Resistance Movement (NRM) and National Unity Platform (NUP).
None of the two parties have taken it as a priority to encourage citizens to go out and participate in the registration, especially those who turned 18 after the last registration.
Come December 15, all parties will be targeting same voters, yet some have actually travelled out of the country, may be others were frustrated with the results and others passed on during the second wave of Covid-19.
The election is likely to cause tension between the leading Opposition party and the ruling party. Both have to either part with sweat, money and pain to win the district LC5 seat.
There are erratic factors at play among these- it’s the voting pattern in the central region during the last general election, social-economic status of the voters, ideological persuasion, ethnicity, religion and behaviour change within the voting population.
NRM needs it badly to prove that they are still relevant and popular in the region and NUP has to show that they still have the sympathy from the population.
Because of the current economic status both parties will have to part with lots of money and this is likely to affect the results, if it’s not managed well.
Whoever plans to engage in these acts, the law will catch up with them.
“A person who, either before or during an election with intent, either directly or indirectly, to influence another person to vote or to refrain from voting for any candidate, gives or provides or causes to be given or provided any money, gift or other consideration to that other person, commits the offence of bribery and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 72 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both”.
Therefore, the Electoral Commission has a role to prove that it will not only oversee election material but they can also deter candidates from breaking the law and should not compromise the principles of impartiality and transparency to those carrying out illegal activities during the campaign period.”
Security operatives will also have to take a similar decision just like they did on January 14 if they are to secure peace in the upcoming elections.
The EC should not forget that a clean register that is transparent, accurate and inclusive will allow eligible voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote. It is said the ignorance of one voter in democracy impairs the security of all.
Ms Faridah Lule is an election analyst.