A team of 10 members from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have been deployed in the south-central Ugandan districts of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono to observe the general election scheduled for Feb.18.
IGAD member states include; Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.
Speaking to the media on Feb. 16 shortly before the flag-off of the team, Yufnalis Okubo, the head of the mission said IGAD had responded to the invitation extended by Uganda’s Electoral Commission (EC) to observe both the presidential and parliamentary elections.
Okubo said IGAD’s team has already met several stakeholders including officials of the EC, Uganda’s ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives of presidential candidates and representatives of the international election observer groups. The IGAD team also observed the presidential debate that was held on Feb.13.
He said during the team’s observation, IGAD will specifically look out for the preparations of the polling stations, the polling exercise itself, how the poll is closing, the counting and later on another team will observe the tallying process.
He said the IGAD team will then come back after the counting process upon which a preliminary report will be prepared and issued on a date to be advised soon.
Meanwhile, the international observers following the Uganda elections have issued a statement calling for restraint among all actors as Ugandans elect the president and members of Parliament.
“We appeal to all functionaries, the electoral commission, political parties, candidates and personalities to refrain from any act, statement or dissemination of information that may cause tension, ill-will, disturbance, and intimidation and adversely affect the peaceful and orderly conduct of elections,” the statement issued on Feb. 16 read in part.
The international missions observing the 2016 elections include the European Union, the African Union, IGAD, the Commonwealth, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa.