EU''s Kristian Schmidt appeals to government to collaborate with civil society actors ahead of the 2016 polls.
By Francis Emorut
KAMPALA - The head of the European Union delegation, Kristian Schmidt, has appealed to the Ugandan government to collaborate with civil society actors in preparation for peaceful general elections due next year.
He said with the significant strides Uganda has made in respect to civil rights, it should not be pulled back by election tensions.
The EU envoy was speaking on behalf of development partners who support Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).
Uganda goes to the polls on February 12 next year, according to a road map released by the Electoral Commission earlier in April.
To avert any chaos, Schmidt stressed the need for government to work with civil society organisations ahead of the general elections.
He pledged development partners' support to both government and civil society to achieve peaceful and democratic elections Uganda.
Speaking during the opening of the fifth national civil society fair organised by National NGO Forum at Africana Hotel, the ambassador told guests that donors were working with civil society organisations in deepening democracy, justice and peace in the country.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, has clarified that the government is committed to work with civil society organizations contrary to the view that the former wants to clamp down the latter using the Non-Governmental Organization 2014 Bill.
From left, Sewakiryanga, retired assistant Bishop Zac Niringiye and minister Ecweru mingle after the fair. (Credit: Francis Emorut)
"As government, we are committed to working with Civil Society Organizations and all development actors to make our shared dream of transforming Uganda a reality," Rugunda said in a speech read on his behalf by Musa Ecweru, the state minister for relief and disaster preparedness.
In the missive, the Premier pointed out that with the recent launch of the National Development Plan II, government has aligned the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) with the plan and different ministries and agencies and civil actors would make it a reality.
He said Uganda has positioned herself to actively engage in the global development process to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Government, he added, has made significant strides in achieving some of the development goals, citing poverty index decrease from 56.4% in 1992 to 24.5% in 2010.
More Ugandans are now accessing ARVs and other essential drugs, said Rugunda.
Other areas government has made remarkable achievements are gender equality and improved school enrollment as well as a sharp decline in infant and child mortality.
The fair was attended by members of civil society actors, lawyers and environmentalists as well as the retired assistant Kampala Bishop Zac Niringiye.
Niringiye, a turned political activist, is involved in brokering The Democratic Alliance (TDA) among opposition political parties to wrestle power from the ruling NRM party.
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