Low Voter Education Affected Vote Turn Out- Observers

By John Bosco Tugume

Bunyoro Election Observers have blamed the Electoral Commission over what they describe as low voter education which facilities low voter turn-ups and high numbers of invalid votes.

Releasing a partial report on election observation on Tuesday at Hoima Resort Hotel, the observers explained that although the voter turn-ups for presidential and parliamentary polls was relatively high but it was too low for lower local government elections.

Countrywide, statistics indicate about six million out of 18 million registered voters did not turn up for the January 2021 presidential elections while in the 2016 elections, about five million out of the 15 million registered voters did not cast their votes as well.

Ismail Kusemererwa, the Executive Director for Mid-Western Region Anti-corruption Coalition-MIRAC says such numbers are worrying and there was need to ensure they participate in the electoral process of their country.

The report also stated that the observation of Covid-19 standard operating procedures was lacking in many parts of the region although EC had provided some facilities.

According to the report, although the elections were generally peaceful, they were characterized by voter bribery, late delivery of election materials, ballot staffing by security operatives, malfunction of Biometric Machines, and late issuance of voter location slips among others.

Helen Takweebwa, an observer from Masindi said the EC followed the recommended practices of vote casting processes, vote counting and declaring of candidates’ results but at some point, ballot stuffing by security operatives was reported in Masindi and Kikuube districts.

Robert Muhangi, the Executive Director for Recreation for Development and Peace Uganda-RDP said the space for civil society organizations to participate was abused through late issuance of their accreditation cards.

The observers are expected to present a final report at the end of this month.

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