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Women call for peaceful 2016 polls

By Andrew Ssenyonga

Added 27th January 2016 01:32 PM

The women under their umbrella of the Women Democracy Group made the call after presenting their list of demands to Forum for Democratic Change

Women call for peaceful 2016 polls

(L-R) Executive director Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) Rita Aciro-Lakor, executive director Campaign Bureau Wilberforce Kyambadde and FDC national chairperson Wasswa Biriggwa a candle after the meeting. Photo by Richard Sanya

The women under their umbrella of the Women Democracy Group made the call after presenting their list of demands to Forum for Democratic Change

Women Democracy Group has called on all candidates vying for various elective posts countrywide to stick to clean and honest politics.

The members of the consortium include non-governmental organisations, faith based organisations, academia, business, political parties among others.

According to the statement made by the women, since the opening of the campaigning exercise for the 2016 general elections, a number of aspirants have started playing what they termed as 'dirty politicking'.

Rita Aciro-Lakor, executive director of Uganda Women's Network (UWONET) said the women are expressing their deepest concern at the increasing level of political violence and intolerance which is countering citizens' aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy.

"The political clashes that occurred in Ntungamo, Gulu, Bukwo and elsewhere between police, political parties and their supporters are increasing in the frequency and its effects are spilling over into the citizenry," she said.

The women under their umbrella of the Women Democracy Group made the call after presenting their list of demands to Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) at the main opposition party's headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala.

She added that while political conflict destroys both men's and women's lives, it is apparent that women are often the more vulnerable group.

"Women usually bear a heavy burden during and after political violence to support their families when the men are injured, imprisoned or even killed. This too endangers their health and wellbeing," she said.

Aciro-Lakor added that; "we also fear that this violence will scare women from participating in the forthcoming elections due to fear of being physically harassed or harmed."

St. Kakumba chapel, Kyambogo University's Rev. Canon Ruth Galimaka urged politicians to restrain their supporters from violence during the ongoing campaigns so that the country can have peaceful elections.

"There is no need to disrespect or fight one another because of supporting different political camps. We should love and respect one another despite the different political groups we belong to," she said.

In the statement presented to FDC leaders, the women strongly condemned and shall not tolerate any form of violence before, during and after elections by all the actors.

"Uganda's political history is marked with violent coups, numerous armed rebellions and lack of political accountability fueled by an absence of viable political structures allowing for the free entry and exit from the political process as well as inadequate channels to express grievances or disaffection," part of the statement read.

The list of demands, the women presented to FDC include; the call to the political actors including candidates to use their voice to call for peace and unity ahead of the elections, call to all people involved in the electoral 'process to refrain from any process that breeds intolerance, call to government to urge its institutions such as police to ensure utmost impartiality by working strictly within the law and call to the youth and women to desist from being lured into militias by politicians.

FDC national party chairman Wasswa Birigwa said their party was ready to put in practice all the demands.

"So far, it's only the FDC party that has not participated in any form of violence and we pledge to keep it that way," Birigwa said.

Birigwa also asked the women to vote candidates who will help the country make laws to fight evil.

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