By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Following EU’s head of delegation to Uganda, Attilio Pacifici recent claims that government’s failure to send them an invite was among the reasons for them not to participate in observing the forthcoming polls, Ministry of Foreign Affairs has trashed the allegations saying that it invited all concerned bodies.
“Another aspect that is taken into account (for a decision to send an observer mission) is whether the country in question has made progress on recommendations provided by previous EU electoral missions,” Mr Pacifici said in a brief statement on Wednesday last week.
However, according to a statement released on Monday, the Ministry revealed that the government on December 18, 2019, and later on July 3, 2020, extended an invitation to all diplomatic missions EU inclusive and international organisations accredited to Uganda and are interested in observing the polls.
“A list of the EU diplomats to participate in the exercise was provided including a request for accreditation. Furthermore, a note dated 17 November 2020; the EU provided an updated list of diplomats to participate in the diplomatic watching exercise and also sought accreditation of another three participants of the upcoming electoral expert mission once their names are confirmed in the due course,” the statement partially reads.
The Ministry adds, “The ministry regrets that instead of using the official channels which remain open, the government is learning through the press about issues that may be of interest to EU.”
EU has been primary observers of Uganda’s elections including the 2016 General Election after which its observation mission issued a final report recommending reforms in 11 areas with a view of improving the electoral framework for future elections.
The observers recommended changes to the manner in which the Electoral Commission (EC) is constituted. They suggested the involvement of the civil society in the selection of commissioners and subjecting of candidates to public scrutiny.
The team also recommended, among other things, granting of the EC sole regulatory power over key electoral processes, including registration of voters, polling and tallying, redrawing constituency boundaries to address disparities in numbers of voters per constituency, and ensuring the integrity of results by among others publishing the full results online.
The mission also repealed for the provisions of the Public Order Management Act (POMA), which gave the police power to disperse meetings, the establishment of mechanisms against the misuse of State resources, development of a mechanism that would see candidates enjoy equal and equitable coverage in the media, enactment of a detailed and complaints and appeals procedure with reasonable time limits for adjudication, and empowering of the EC to more effectively address issues around non-compliance with elections.