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CSOs Insist on Observing Next Year’s Elections

Civil Society Organizations in the country have condemned the recent decision by the National Bureau for Non-Government Organizations (NGO Bureau) to ban the activities of the National Electoral Watch Uganda regarding the monitoring of the forthcoming elections.

The CSOs say this was aimed at denying citizens their civic space.

The group told press yesterday that the laws governing their operations on the country don’t create any obligation of loose coalitions to register incorporate or legalize their operations.

They also noted that the issue of determining who will monitor elections is a mandate of the Electoral Commission (EC) which had already cleared many of them to participate in this exercise.

Sarah Bireete the Executive Director of Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG) noted that the NGO Bureau should put in place an enabling environment for these coalitions instead of discouraging them from performing their duties.

“the bureau has no Mandate to determine who monitors elections; this is a preserve of the Electoral Commission,” she said.

Birete further noted that because of Covid19, there will be no foreign observers, which is why local observers need to be encouraged

“As advocates for removal of these restrictions on civic and Democratic space, we reaffirm our commitment and resolve to stand in solidarity with Ugandans who want to exercise their constitutional rights of association through all peaceful legal forms.”

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On Thursday last week the NGO Bureau suspended operations of National Election Watch, a coalition of over 60 NGOs which was created to monitor next year’s election.

Patrick Omen Ezaga the communications officer of the NGO Bureau said the coalition ought to have been registered with government first.

This coalition was launched in September this year after release of their finding of NRM Party Primaries.

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