EU TO SPEND SH12 BILLION ON MONITORING UGANDA’S ELECTIONS

KAMPALA, The European Union election observation mission for Uganda, which starts work Tuesday, will use sh12b (Euros 3m) for the exercise, Marian Gabriel, the deputy chief observer has told New Vision.

“They will be observing all aspects of the electoral process in their duty areas, meeting with election officials, candidates and civil society representatives. They will report back to the core team in Kampala and the information they provide will be the basis for the mission’s assessment,” he said.

The team of 30 observers was dispatched to various up-country districts at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.

These observers will be based in the districts of Kampala, Mityana, Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Fort Portal, Masindi, Arua, Lira, Soroti, Moroto, Mbale and Jinja.

The observers, who were invited by government, are led by Eduard Kukan, a Slovak member of the European Union Parliament.

Each team has a car, driver and a local assistant to guide them during the mission tour.

Gabriel told New Vision that the core mission of the team is to monitor elections, establish whether there is freedom of assembly, monitor media coverage of candidates or access of candidates to media, gage election preparations, conduct of polls and track the partisan behavior of state operatives.

The other key area of observation, Gabriel said, would be on how the register crafted out of the National Identity registration will be accurate.

“The team has been observing elections in very different countries and has a lot of experience. We are not here to only recommend but to give a picture of the elections to Ugandans,” he said.

On polling day Feb 18, another team of 80 observers will jet into the country to monitor voting by 15 million Ugandans.

The long-time incumbent, Yoweri Museveni, is looking to win his fifth term in office and thereby extend his already 30-year rule. He faces eight opponents in the race, although the election is being touted as a three-horse race between Museveni, his seasoned opponent Kizza Besigye, and his former ally Amama Mbabazi

Source: NEW VISION