Afrobarometer Survey: ‘Only 34% of Ugandans believe 2016 election was free, fair’
Only 34% of Ugandans believe last year’s acrimonious general election was “completely free and fair” according to the latest survey by Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions and other related issues in Africa.
Still, 83% of Ugandans support regular, open, and honest elections as the best way to choose their leaders. (see FULL report bottom)
The report which was released in Kampala on April 28 titled: “Outcry versus disdain? Understanding public support for public support for proposals to improve Parliament and elections in Uganda,” also shows that most Ugandans favour proposed reforms to improve elections and Parliament.
The survey results which have a margin of error of +/-3% at a 95% confidence level notes that almost all adult Ugandans support the call to improve electoral transparency, especially during vote tallying, transmission, and declaration.
Most Ugandans are also in favour of a national dialogue to resolve the political impasse following the 2016 elections, a reduction in the size of Parliament to save tax payers money, and a tightening of laws on campaign financing and accountability.
While releasing the survey results, Francis Kibirige, the national coordinator of Hatchile Consult, the firm that carried out the survey in Uganda said cross-cutting support for electoral reforms transcends political and demographic differences.
“Improving electoral transparency, reducing size of Parliament, and launching a national dialogue over the 2016 elections were among the most strongly supported proposals,” he said.
The respondents picked from a nationwide pool of 1,200 adult Ugandans and interviewed between December 2016 and Jan.8, this year, were asked to suggest from a list of up to five proposals what they thought would improve the quality of Uganda’s elections in future.
Up to 96% said improving transparency during vote tallying, transmission, and declaration would help; 92% said they want the authorities to come up with measures that discourage use of forged qualifications and 89% said they want electoral officials individually held accountable.
Another 89% of the respondents think tightening laws on campaign finance and accountability would help while 74% think increasing time for determining presidential election petitions should be considered.
While discussing the report, Godber Tumushabe, the associate director of the Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies wondered why Ugandans insist on holding elections if they do not trust the polling process.
He also wondered who might be against the electoral reforms in Uganda considering that Ugandans overwhelmingly agree that there is need for electoral reforms.
Tumushabe quickly argued that the biggest obstacle to electoral reforms in the country seem to be a combination of factors including; disorganized political parties; the local political and business elite who benefit from the current NRM government; the international actors who have business interests in the country and who therefore are more comfortable with the status quo as well as Museveni and his family who have nothing to gain from the electoral reforms.