The United States embassy in Uganda has announced that they will not be involved in observing Uganda’s upcoming general elections tomor" />

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United States not to be part of Ugandan elections observers – embassy announces

The United States embassy in Uganda has announced that they will not be involved in observing Uganda’s upcoming general elections tomorrow on Thursday 14th January, 2020 citing denial of more than 75 percent of their requests accreditations by the Electoral commission.

The US Head of Mission to Uganda Ms. Natalie Brown made the pronouncement on the eve of the process stating that they are disappointed to cancel their diplomatic observation in the upcoming electoral process.

“It is with profound disappointment that I announce (the) U.S. Mission in Uganda’s decision to cancel our diplomatic observation of Uganda’s January 14 elections due to the decision by the Electoral Commission of Uganda to deny more than 75 percent of the U.S. election observer accreditations requested. With only 15 accreditations approved, it is not possible for the United States to meaningfully observe the conduct of Uganda’s elections at polling sites across the country,” She noted.

Brown claims that they had many of their lodged requests turned down by the Uganda’s Electoral Commission with no specific reason, and that the communication to this development was made just days before the election day.

“The purpose of a diplomatic observation of elections is to demonstrate our interest in a free, fair, peaceful, and inclusive electoral process. Diplomatic observers are not participants or advisors in the electoral process. Rather, they informally observe the conduct of elections, following strict standards of impartiality, non-interference, and compliance with local laws. The Government of Uganda has supported such U.S. observer efforts in multiple previous Ugandan elections. This makes the decision now to deny accreditation to all but a small, randomly selected handful of our observers all the more troubling.”

She also maintained that the United States takes on side in Uganda’s elections.

“As we have stated previously, the United States takes no side in Uganda’s upcoming elections. We support a free, fair, peaceful, and inclusive electoral process. For Uganda’s 2016 elections, the U.S. Mission dispatched 88 diplomatic election observers. For the January 14 election, the U.S. Mission complied with all Electoral Commission accreditation requirements, as we had in previous elections in Uganda, but the vast majority of our requests for 2021 were not approved.”

Brown also claimed that they have reports the Electoral Commission has denied accreditation requests from members of other diplomatic missions and large numbers of Ugandan observers.

“Numerous civil society organizations planned to observe the elections, but many have not heard back from the Electoral Commission on their accreditation applications. Among those civil society organizations which already had organizational accreditation, the vast majority of their individual observers have not yet – two days ahead of elections – received accreditation badges. Absent the robust participation of observers, particularly Ugandan observers who are answerable to their fellow citizens, Uganda’s elections will lack the accountability, transparency, and confidence that observer missions provide. Uganda will also miss the opportunity to benefit from observers’ insights to improve and inform future elections.”

Ms. Brown’s communication comes just a few moments after the government of Uganda ordered all telecommunication companies in the country to block access to social media platforms by the citizens.

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