Executive Director CCEDU, Charity Ahimbisibwe argues that it’s CCEDU’s core mandate to do election observation, whether accredited by electoral commission or not
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The NGO Bureau has tasked the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) to provide an explanation of how it produced a 2021 election observation report when it was not accredited by the Electoral Commission (EC).
Stephen Okello, the Executive Director of the NGO Bureau told URN that CCEDU has up to June 15th, 2021, to respond to the questions raised. CCEDU, a coalition of civil society organizations advocating for the betterment of electoral democracy in Uganda launched a report on May 28th. But the report has not been uploaded on the organization website.
Charity Ahimbisibwe, the Executive Director CCEDU, said on Friday last week in an interview that the report would be uploaded on the organization website. The Electoral Commission complaint, Charity said came after they invited them for a report launch. And Electoral Commission wrote back saying that they wouldn’t attend the launch since CCEDU wasn’t accredited to observe the election. Electoral Commission did not caution them against the launch, Charity said.
But Electoral Commission quickly wrote to the NGO Bureau. “The purpose of this communication is therefore to inform you of this development and caution against the said launch since the organization (CCEDU) was not accredited to observe the said election,” the acting EC secretary Leonard Mulekwah wrote to the NGO Bureau Executive Director on May 28th.
On the same day, NGO Bureau Executive Director wrote to the CCEDU Executive Director saying, “This letter serves to caution you against the said launch since you were not accredited for the said exercise.” It was the same day when the report was being launched.
But Charity said they received the letter on Monday 31st May when the launch was on Friday. “It came too late,” she said. “…by the time the letter for NGO Bureau Board came on Monday, we had already launched on Friday.”
CCEDU defends its election observation activities. Charity argues that it’s part of CCEDU’s core mandate. “When we went to the meeting with NGO bureau, it was discovered that the mandate of CCEDU is in three areas; election observation, whether we have accreditation from electoral commission or not, it’s our mandate,” she argued. The meeting took place on Tuesday, June 1st last week.
“A mandate is a thing that you legally registered to do. It’s our mandate to observe elections whether we have accreditation or not,” she said. But it’s only the Electoral Commission that can accredit election observers, according to Section 16 of the Electoral Commission Act.