Former Principal Judge Justice James Ogoola has described last Friday’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) Primaries as the epitome of electoral fraud.
“Live pictures of these horrendous scenes have been captured and relayed on social media. This is not electioneering, this is election rigging,” Ogoola retorted.
He made these remarks at the launch of a domestic election observation coalition dubbed “National Election Watch Uganda” at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
Speaking at the event, Ogoola said he was taken aback at the electoral violence and day light bribery of voters that dominated the just concluded NRM Primaries.
This he said was shaming for the Political Organization that purports to be a mass party grounded on democratic values.
“The free flow of money to me was very frightening. The electoral queue became an ATM Machine from which illicit bank notes were freely dished out to the electorate. I have it on my phone and many of them. There was no campaigning, no manifesto; there was no explanation, just the money doing the job,” he added.
As such, Ogoola said that election observers will come in handy as far as exposing flagrant electoral irregularities in the 2021 general polls is concerned.
However, this time round, he pointed out that the participation of international observer groups is hanging by a thread due to the closure of air spaces following the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The chances of any external observer EU, Commonwealth at the time of these elections as of now, chances are totally nil because the borders and the air space are under strict lock down; making impervious the likelihood of entry of any external observers,” Ogoola noted.
However, on the other hand, Ritah Aciro the Co-Chairperson of this coalition bringing together 60 Ugandan Civil Society Organizations is optimistic that they will meet stakeholder’s expectations.
So far, Aciro says they plan to train a network of professional observers on how to generate scientific data for purposes of ensuring fairness and credibility in the forthcoming polls.
“New-U will observe the 2020/2021 electoral processes in all the 135 districts of Uganda. At least 135 Long Term Observers (LTOs) and 800 Short Term Observers (STOs) will be deployed,” she disclosed