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Growing and Serving Together

UGANDAJOINTCHRISTIANCOUNCIL
PRESSRELEASE
25February2016
PreliminaryReportonthePresidentialandParliamentaryElectionsof2016
1. Introduction
UgandaJointChristianCouncil(UJCC)observedthepresidentialandparliamentaryelections
thatwereheldon18thFebruary,2016followingaccreditationbytheElectoralCommission.
InthisPreliminaryReport,wewouldliketosharewithyouanoverviewofourfindingsand
observationsandrecommendationsdictatedbytheexigencyoftheprevailingsituation.
WeareintheprocessofcompilingaFinalReportinwhichweintendtodelvedeeperinto
whathappened.Oncethereportiscompiled,weshallpublishitfortheconsumptionofall
thestakeholders.Thispreliminaryreportisdividedintofourparts:(1)Goalandobjectivesof
UJCCs Election Observation Mission, (2) Methodology and scope of the observation
exercise,(3)anOverviewoftheFindingsand(4)ourObservationsandRecommendations.
2. GoalandObjectives
UJCCinvolvementinelectionobservationwasdictatedbythedesiretocontributetowards
building abetterfutureforUgandansrootedintheideathatthewill ofthepeopleisthe
basisoftheauthoritytogovern.Ournationalconstitutionof1995providesthatthewillof
the people on who shall govern them and how they shall be governed shall be expressed
through regular, free and fair elections or through referenda. The elections of 2016
provided Ugandans with the opportunity to choose leaders who will govern them for he
nextfiveyearsaftertheexpirationofthetermofofficeofthecurrentleadersinMay,2016.

3. MethodologyandScopeofObservation
UJCCobservedthenominationofpresidentialcandidateswhichwasconductedon3rdand
4th November, 2015.UJCC also observed the campaigns to a limited extent and polling,
countingandtallyingofvotesanddeclarationofresults.Wetrainedanddeployedatotalof
863observersincludingabout696pollwatchers.Theywereequippedwithguidelinesand
checkliststohelpthemindischargingtheirduties.Itisimportanttounderscorethefactthat
anelectionisnotjustaboutvoting,countingandtallyingofvotes.Itisalongprocesswhich
involves a multiplicity of activities including legislative reforms, the registration of voters,
nomination of candidates, campaigns, polling, counting and tallying of votes, complaints
handlinganddeclarationofelectionresults.However,themainfocusofthisreportisonthe
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challenges we identified during the campaign period, polling day as well as postpolling
period. We shall address all the aspects of thepresidential and parliamentary elections in
ourFinalReport.Thefollowingareourpreliminaryfindingsandrecommendations.

3.1 Campaigns
The campaigns were conducted generally peacefully in all parts of the country. This was
largely attributed to the harmonization of the candidates campaign programmes by the
Electoral Commission. There were a few incidents of violence. In a pressstatement which
weissuedon17thFebruary,2016wecondemnedtheexcessiveuseofforcebymembersof
thesecurityforceswhichresultedintothedeathofonepersoninKampalaandurgedthem
torespecthumanrightsindischargingtheirdutiesandtoexerciserestraint.

3.2 Polling,Countingandtallyingofvotes
Polling Day, 18th February, 2016 was an historic occasion. We commend the people of
Ugandawhoturnedupinlargenumbersacrossthecountrytoexercisetheirrighttovote.
However,thereweresomechallengesduringpolling,countingandtallyingofvotespriorto
the declaration of results of the presidential elections by the Electoral Commission on
Saturday,20thFebruary,2016.Thefollowingisanoverviewofthechallengesidentified:

3.3 Delayedopeningofpollingstations
There was inordinate delay in opening of polling stations in some parts of Kampala,
especiallyinMakindyeEastandMakindyeWestconstituenciesasaresultofthefailureof
the Electoral Commission to deliver voting materials in time. The extent of the delay was
troublesome.ForexampleatSt.PetersNsambyaPollingStation,votingstartedat12.30pm.
At Munyonyo Primary School NZ Polling Station in Makindye West Constituency, voting
startedat1.00pm.Similarpatternofdelayedopeningofpollingstationwerealsowitnessed
at Tank Hill Primary School Polling Station and at St. Paul Primary School Nsambya where
votingstartedat1.30pm.AtKiwulirizaPrimarySchoolNZinMakindye East Constituency,
voting started at about 2.15pm. And, at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Catholic Church Polling
StationinMakindyeEastConstituency,votingstartedat3.00pm

3.4 Peoplefailingtofindtheirnamesonthevotersroll
Somepeoplecouldnotfindtheirnamesonthevotersroll.Forexample,inRukungiriDistrict
ourobserversnotedthatatleast13peopleinfivepollingstationscouldnotvotebecause
they were informed that their names were not on the voters roll. Similarly in Kanungu
District,thereweretenpeoplein3pollingstationswhocouldnotfindtheirnamesonthe
votersrollandthereforetheycouldnotexercisetheirrighttovote.

3.5 IrregularitiesDuringPolling
Insomepollingstations,electionofficialsassistedvoterswithdisabilitiestovote.InKoboko
District alone our observers reported 31 such incidents. At a polling station in Amolatar
District,ourobserverreportedthatpollingofficialsweredirectingelderlyvoterstovotefor
oneofthepresidentialcandidates.Thissparkedprotestsfromthecandidatesagents.
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3.6 MalfunctioningoftheBBVSMachine
Our observer reported that in Amach Polling Station in Erute South Constituency, Lira
District,theBBVSmachinefailedtoidentify10peopleeventhoughtheirnameswereonthe
votersreoll.Likewise,inTukumPollingStationinDakabelaConstituency,SorotiDistrict,the
BBVS machine indicated that a lady whose name and photograph were on the voters roll
hadalreadyvotedandyetshehadnotvoted.Afingercheckedconfirmedshehadnotvoted
butshewasdeniedtherighttovote.

3.7 PostponementofVoting
In Dokolo South Constituency, voting for Directly Elected Member of Parliament was
postponed due to a mixup in the photos of two of the contestants. At Gaba Trading
GabudyeriPollingStationinMakindyeEastConstituency,allthefourpollingstationslocated
intheareadidnotvoteon18thFebruary,2016.Thiswasbecausevotersbecamerowdyand
theyburntsomevotingmaterials. Our observernotedthatthepollingmaterials werenot
only brought late but were also brought in bits. The observer noted that when the boxes
were opened, the ballot papers for the Presidential candidates were missing. At St Denis
SecondaryGabaPollingStationwheretherewereseven(7)pollingstations,votingwasalso
postponedto19February,2016duetoriotslinkedtodelayeddeliveryofpollingmaterials.

3.8 Delayinannouncementofresultsbysomereturningofficers
Therewasinordinatedelayinreleasingelectionresultsatsomedistricttallycentres.Inat
leasttwodistricts,namelyKaseseandAlebtong,teargaswasusedtodispersestakeholders
whohadbecomeangryandweredemandingexplanationforthedelay.

3.9 Lackoftransparencyinparliamentaryelectionresults
InGuluDistrict,ourobserversnotedthatthereturningofficerdeclaredthewinnerswithout
announcingtheresultsscoredbyeachofthecandidateswhocontestedtheparliamentary
elections. In the case of one of the constituencies, the declaration was made against a
backgroundofallegedballotstuffing,anallegationwecouldnotverify.

3.10
Failuretoaccountforvotesfromalargenumberpollingstations
ThepresidentialelectionresultsreleasedbytheElectoralCommissiononSaturdayexcluded
votes from several polling stations. In Jinja District with 233,848 registered voters in 399
pollingstations,theCommissionreceivedfromonly11pollingstations.InKyenjojoDistrict
with186,538registeredvotersin337pollingstations,theCommissionreceivedresultsfrom
only60pollingstations.InKampalawith1,014,294registeredin1,338pollingstations,the
Commission declared results from only 1,176 polling stations. This begs the following
questions:(1)WhywerevotesfromtheaffectedpollingstationsnottalliedbytheElectoral
Commission?(2)Wasthereresultstransmissionsystemfailureintheaffecteddistricttally
centres to the national tally centre in Namboole? (3) Was it a case of inefficiency and
incompetenceonthepartofthereturningofficers?
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3.11
Voterturnout
Therewasgenerallyhighvoterturnout.HoweverfromtheresultspublishedbytheElectoral
Commission, there was a great deal of disparity in the voter turnout in various districts.
Districts which registered very high voter turnout include Buhweju (81.94%), Napak
(78.81%), Kapchorwa ((79.92), (Mitooma (73.53%), Kween 77.66%) .Districts which
registeredrelativelylowvoterturnoutincludeKampala(46.33%),Amuru(49.88%),Wakiso
(50.67%),Nwoya(53.78%),Gulu(54.97%)andIsingiro(55.03%).Whatinfluencedthevoter
turnout?Wasitduetoinadequatevotereducation?Wasitduetovoterapathy,afeeling
thatvotingisawasteoftime?Wasittheresultofpoliticalmobilizationbythelocalpolitical
leaders?This,inourview,wouldbeaninterestingsubjectofresearch.

3.12
Highnumberofinvalidvotesinsomeareas
According to the report of theElectoral Commission, some districts registereda very high
number of invalid votes. Virtually all the districts with unusually high number of invalid
votes are from Northern Uganda. The districts concerned include Kaabong (12.63%),
Maracha(10.59%),Adjumani(9.81%),Kotido(9.47%),Arua(9.43%),Moroto(8.87%),Kitgum
(8.43), Nebbi (8.00%). In our view, the high level of invalid votes is largely attributed to
inadequate civic education. But there is certainly more to it. We have noticed from the
results of the presidential elections published by the Electoral Commission that in Otuke
District,atotalof28,789peoplevotedforthepresidentialcandidatesandwerenoinvalid
votes. UJCC personnel observed elections in a few polling stations in Otuke and we have
reservations regarding the authenticity of the figure about invalid votes published by the
Commission.Inourview,thiswouldalsobeanotherinterestingsubjectofresearch.

4. ObservationsandRecommendations
Thereweresomepositiveaspectsofthepresidentialandparliamentaryelections.First,the
exerciseofnominatingpresidentialcandidateswasconductedinatransparentmannerby
the Electoral Commission. Secondly, the introduction of the National Identity Card, the
BiometricVoterVerificationSystem(BBVS)andtheVoterLocationSlips(VLS)wasastepin
therightdirection.Thechallengewhichourobserversnotedwasthatsomepollingofficials
didnotknowhowtooperatetheBBVSmachine.Insomecases,themachinesfailedtowork
properly.Thirdly,votingwasconductedpeacefullyinmanypartsofthecountry,exceptin
areaswherepeopleriotedduetodelayeddeliveryofpollingmaterials.Fourthly,inmostof
thepollingstationsacrossthecountry,votingmaterialsweredeliveredearlyandvotingalso
beganearly.However,therewerealsomanyshortcomings,ashighlightedabove.

Thearrestsandcontinueddetentionofoneofthepresidentialcandidates,Dr.KiizaBesigye,
atthiscriticalperiodoftheelectoralexerciseonsecuritygroundisaworryingdevelopment.
We do acknowledge that security is an important factor in any election. However, article
221 of the Constitution of Uganda enjoins the security personnel to observe respect
humanrightsandfreedomsintheperformanceoftheirfunctions.

UJCC notes with concern that Dr. Besigye has been arrested by the security forces about
fourtimessince16thFebruary,2016buthehasnotbeenchargedinanycourtoflawwith
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