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Military involvement hindering women participation in elections: CSOs

Winnie Kiiza

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Civil Society Organizations have asked the government to stop using the military during elections in order to attract women to participate in the forthcoming women’s council elections.

The call was made on Tuesday during a consultative meeting organized by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy. The meeting was intended to gather views from women leaders and civil society organizations on better practices during the women council elections that will be held next month.

Winnie Kiiza, the former Kasese District Woman Member of Parliament said that the presence of military personnel scares away women candidates.

The military has in previous elections been criticized for the heavy deployment of personnel during the elections, leaving many voters intimidated by their presence in some areas.

Charity Ahimbisibwe, the Executive Director of Electoral Laws Institute Uganda Chapter says that the conduct of the military during the elections limits women to exercise their right to participate in politics both as voters and candidates.

She cited cases of torture subjected to women candidates mainly from the opposition.

Apart from the militarization of elections, the women also identified the commercialization of elections as another key deterrent to women’s participation in elections.

Olive Namazzi, the City Executive Secretary for Education and Health blamed the Electoral Commission for failing to mobilize women to participate in elections. She claims that the Commission connives with some candidates especially from the ruling National Resistance Movement party to rig the elections.

Namazzi says several of the voters in Nakawa refer to women’s council elections as NRM women council elections.

Charles Mashate, the head of voter education and training at the Electoral Commission says that the commission is conducting civic education but is often limited by finances.

The current Women Councils and Committees were elected during the period June – August 2018, and the Executive Committee of the National Women’s Council was constituted on 23rd – 24th. Their term of office according to the National Women’s Council Act, shall elapse in August 2022.

According to the Electoral Commission, elections for Women Councils and Committees shall be conducted between 10th June and 23rd August 2022. The process starts with the compilation of the village women’s register from 10th to 13th June 2022.



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