TOP
Friday,December 04,2020 20:19 PM
  • Home
  • Archive
  • Ugandans should gain interest in elections

Ugandans should gain interest in elections

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th May 2010 03:00 AM

LATELY, I have been attending a number of election-related events. In all these election forums, certain issues have formed the basis for debate. Issues like lack of trust in the electoral institutions, lack of an enabling legal framework to bolster the electoral process, voter intimidation, vote ri

LATELY, I have been attending a number of election-related events. In all these election forums, certain issues have formed the basis for debate. Issues like lack of trust in the electoral institutions, lack of an enabling legal framework to bolster the electoral process, voter intimidation, vote ri

LATELY, I have been attending a number of election-related events. In all these election forums, certain issues have formed the basis for debate. Issues like lack of trust in the electoral institutions, lack of an enabling legal framework to bolster the electoral process, voter intimidation, vote rigging and the low voter turnout.

Those who are passionate about these issues, base their comments on experiences from Uganda’s past elections — in 1996, 2001 and 2006. Unlike in countries like Australia, Belgium, Italy, Brazil or even South Africa, where the election constitutes high voter turnout, in Uganda there is low enthusiasm to engage in the electoral processes. This, coupled with lack of rules that make exercises like voter registration and voting compulsory, slows down the election momentum.

Establishing laws that make voter registration and attendance at polling mandatory would be good, but it is better election stakeholders encourage people to participate in elections without any sanctions.

The Electoral Commission is currently carrying out a countrywide voter registration drive for the 2011 election. For a citizen of 18 years or above, registration is the first step towards dispelling fears associated with elections in Uganda.

Low participation in electoral activities only exacerbates evils like vote rigging and other electoral irregularities.

Elections are such an important hallmark in a country’s democratic process that they cannot be relegated to just a few citizens of voting age.

In fulfillment of citizen rights, everyone has a responsibility to respond to the challenges of a nation by actively participating in the electoral process.

Most forms of electoral fraud such as fabrication of results are mainly caused by the extent to which the national voter register is clean or unclean.

It is in line with this, that several electoral bodies worldwide emphasise the need for a clean voter register as the cornerstone of a transparent, free and fair election.

Even though an accurate voter register is important, an election could appear clean on the polling day, but could have been manipulated long before the voting day.

Therefore, in this phase of the electoral process, the ultimate role of a citizen of voting age goes beyond criticising the electoral system to ensuring that he or she is registered to vote.

Stakeholders including the Electoral Commission, the civil society, political parties, the media and election observers have a responsibility to enlighten the public on the benefits of participation in elections.

The citizens also have a central role of pursuing their interests based on priorities in their communities and debating how effectively to cause change with the ballot.

It is the involvement of citizens in decision-making processes that will make Uganda tower to the heights of a vibrant democracy.
The writer is the coordinator of the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda

Ugandans should gain interest in elections

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author