A call to political leaders to prevent electoral violence
The Ugandan public has noted and observed through the media and other sources the potential for violence during and after the 2011 elections. The high expectation of violence has been caused by the possibility of electoral malpractices including the following:
Some presidential candidates are making statements threatening peaceful assembly, association including the right to demonstrate;
Weapons like arrows and clubs are allegedly being ferried into Kampala from various locations;
‘Crime Preventers’ have been hurriedly trained, they are ill-informed about the law and may be a source of violence;
Some members of the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF), Uganda Police and government employees especially RDCs have been seen to engage in partisan politics, which is a potential source of conflict;
The Voters’ Register has inconsistencies such as multiple registrations and lack of photographs of voters.
Millions of voters have no voters’ cards;
The creation and promise of districts over the past few months could be interpreted as an attempt to manipulate the 2011 elections results;
General lack of confidence by the public in the Electoral Commission, especially in regard to delivering free and fair election;
The handling of historical issues, like the Traditional and Cultural Leaders Bill recently passed by parliament, is potentially divisive;
Media houses and workers have increasingly been victims of state censorship and violence;
Bribery and vote buying are rampant in these elections. The shillings 20 million irregularly given to MPs has been cited as good example of this malpractice;
Some Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) including Human Rights Defenders working on elections have been intimidated.
The government has failed to contain the mushrooming of militias like Yellow Brigade; Kalangala Action Plan; Red Brigade; Black Brigade; Kikankane; Mwoyo Gwa Gwanga; Hakuna Kulia; Hakuna Kulala; and Kiboko Squad;
There is notable intolerance of the political actors and supporters on all sides.
The above suggests the potential for the current electoral process to plunge the country into a state of anarchy. For this reason we invoke the spirit of the 1995 Uganda Constitution, which requires that we recall our history and that we struggle for unity, peace, equality, democracy, freedom, social justice and progress. It is worth pointing out that the government of Uganda both under domestic and international law is duty-bound to protect all its citizens and their property using lawful means.
Now that the official campaigning is over, we address ourselves to the institutions and their heads below who have special responsibility not to lead the country down the terrible path of Uganda’s history, but to adhere to their public responsibilities and uphold their Constitutional mandate.
Ugandans are weary of state-inspired anarchy since the 1966 Kabaka Crisis to date.
The President of Uganda and Commander in Chief of the armed forces, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni;
Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Eng. Badru Kiggundu;
Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima;
Inspector General of Police, Major. Gen Kale Kayihura;
Minister of Security, Amama Mbabazi;
All Intelligence Organizations and Agencies;
The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda; and
Members of Parliament.
Other individuals with special responsibility to ensure peace in this electoral period include:
Presidential candidate of FDC/IPC, Rtd. Col. Kiiza Besigye;
Presidential candidate of DP, Hon. Nobert Mao;
Presidential candidate of UPC, Dr. Olara Otunu;
Presidential candidate of UFA, Hon. Betty Kamya;
Presidential candidate of PPP, Hon. J. Bidandi Ssali;
Presidential candidate of PDP, Dr. Abed Bwanika;
Presidential candidate, Mr. Samuel Lubega;
For emphasis, the Inspector General of Police is mandated under the law to protect peaceful assembly, association and demonstrations of citizens who may be expressing their discontent with outcomes of the electoral process or with any other issue pertaining to governance.
All Ugandans are also called upon to ensure a peaceful, free and fair election process.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
Members of CSOs which have prepared this press release:
1. East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
2. National Association of Professional Environmentalists
3. Human Rights Network – Uganda
4. Street Law – Uganda
5. United Religions Initiative
6. African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims
7. Muslim Center for Justice and the Law
8. Uganda Water Governance Institute
9. African Institute for Energy Governance
10. Publish What You Pay – Uganda
11. Facilitation for Peace and Development