NOVEMBER 15, 2010: Over 1,000 Apply to Observe Next Year's Elections

Over 1,000 Apply to Observe Next Year's Elections

SOURCE: The New Vision

By John Odyek

A total of 1,085 institutions and countries have lodged applications to observe next year's presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Electoral Commission said the number of applicants exceeded those who applied for the first multiparty elections held in 2006.

"Election observation is considered critical in assessing the credibility and fairness of the exercise. When the election process is subjected to the outside eye, they make comments on whether the exercise was done according to standard," Paul Bukenya, the assistant public relations officer, told New Vision.

He said some of the applications had been processed and some applicants had started working.

The local institutions whose applications are being processed include the Foundation For Human Rights Initiative, the National Association of Women of Uganda, the Democracy Monitoring Group, the Deepening Democracy Programme, media houses and institutions.

Other applicants include the International Republican Institute, Advocacy for Violence Free Elections, the British High Commission, the American Embassy, the Goodwill Foundation for Students, the European Union and the Foundation for Africa Development.

Bukenya said registered political parties would be accredited to observe elections.

He said the Africa Elections Authority, based in Ghana, which had been invited, was expected to invite all electoral authorities from sister African countries.

The commission noted that all embassies accredited to Uganda had been invited to observe the elections.

In 2006, the European Commission sent 60 people to observe the first multiparty elections in Uganda.

The commission later produced a report which asked for the improvement of the electoral processes such as the registration of voters, the display of voters register, creating a level playing field for all candidates and timely enactment of electoral laws.

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