Uganda Spends for Elections [interview]

The Uganda Electoral Commission (EC) has given Ush 10 billion (about $3.3million) to major political parties in preparation for the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. To drum up more awareness, the EC and the Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Demoracy in Uganda (CCEDU) recently launched a campaign dubbed ‘Votability”. Crispy Kaheru , the Coordinator CCEDU talked to East African Business Week’s Paul Tentena about t he campaign.

Why did you launch this campaign?

We’re accredited by the Electoral Commission (EC) to conduct voter education across the country with a mandate to mobilize all eligible Ugandans aged eighteen years and above to peacefully and actively participate in the General Voter Register Update.

We launched this campaign to boost participation in the ongoing Electoral Commission Voter Register Update exercise that is taking place from 7th to 30th April 2015.

What is the meaning of this word Votability?

This slogan is a combination of the words ‘vote’ and ‘ability’, which basically refers to eligibility, preparedness and ability of one to exercise their right to vote.

It is meant to popularize the Voter Register Update Exercise and ultimately positively change attitudes of the electorate to embrace the entire electoral process.

What sort of activities does this campaign entail?

It entails various activities aimed at reaching out to all eligible voters across Uganda to go and verify their personal details on the Voters Register. And for those Ugandans who have not registered yet, to do so.

These activities include: Experiential road shows, Aertising, Radio and Television messaging, social media and online updates and promotional material among others.

What is the main purpose of the Voter Register Update exercise?

The purpose of the general Voter Register Update exercise is to register eligible Ugandan citizens of eighteen (18) years and above who are not yet registered as voters. However, all persons who registered during the mass enrollment for issuance of the National Identity Cards, and were successfully verified as Ugandan citizens, will not be required to register again during this update exercise because the Electoral Commission has already extracted their particulars from the National Identification Register.

Do I need to be a Ugandan Citizen in order to register to vote?

Only Ugandan nationals are eligible to vote.

What is your aice to all eligible voters in Uganda regarding the Voters Register update?

Quality of life depends on the leaders one chooses. I therefore urge all eligible Ugandan voters to go verify their details on the Voters’ Register at their respective Voter Register Display centers located in their parishes or wards and make sure that their details are accurate.

During the 2011 elections, only 59% voter turn up was recorded and of the recorded turnout, 4% of the votes were invalid. What do you have to say about these statistics?

Yes, the statistics are true. However, it does not have to be the same in 2016. All eligible voters should seek to be on the register this time, so that when the time for voting comes, they are able to participate in the vote.

Source : East African Business Week