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IGAD election observers to meet presidential candidates

IGAD observer team

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Election Observer Mission in Uganda will meet the presidential candidates ahead of Thursday’s elections. 

The team comprises of 22 observers is led by the Head of Mission Siraj Fegessa, who is also the Director of Peace and Security at IGAD. IGAD member states are comprised of Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Flagging off the team on Monday at the City Royale Hotel in Bugolobi, Siraj said that they will observe elections in Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Luwero and Mpigi districts.

He said that they hope that this can be representative of the country and that they will be looking at polling stations, turn up of voters, issues of ballot materials among others.

He says after meeting the Electoral Commission, they are convinced that the elections will be managed well.

The team which arrived in the country on Saturday says they hope to meet all the Presidential candidates regarding the elections and brief them about what is happening.

IGAD has written to all the 11 candidates with hope to meet them before and after elections before their preliminary report is published. It is expected that the candidates will be asked on their experiences before, during and after campaign period. 

In 2016, the IGAD election observers noted that although the elections met the minimum international standards of a free and fair election, there were campaign posters at polling stations which were against laws of campaigning at polling day, delay in receiving polling materials, voters failing to locate polling stations and failure to resolve on the process of registering a ballot paper as valid or invalid.

The observer process will take a week. The observers will work alongside other observers like the East African community, US Embassy among others. 

The European Union (EU) which has played a critical role in making electoral recommendations has stayed away from the process, with only individual ambassadors and members participating.

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