Uganda’s hope for free and fair elections dashed- CEON-U

This is an excerpt of the 20 February, 2016 statement of the Citizens Election Observers Network – Uganda (CEON-U). CEON-U, of which ACME is a member, is a consortium of 18 national and 23 sub national civil society organisations that aims to enhance the integrity of the election process by providing evidence-based, impartial assessments, deterring and exposing irregularities, and increasing citizen participation in Uganda’s electoral process.

Read or download the full statement by following the link at the end of this excerpt.

While Election Day processes and tabulation at the district level were conducted relatively well, with the exception of certain locations, the credibility of the overall election process was undermined by fundamental and structural flaws. The context in which Uganda holds its elections cannot allow for free, fair and credible elections.

Whereas CEON-U observed that results were posted at 91% of polling stations on Election Day, at the National Tally Centre results are only released in an aggregated manner, which does not give the opportunity to the public to verify the results at the primary level. This lack of transparency creates uncertainty, which undermines public confidence in the results. This is compounded by the Electoral Commission’s restriction on observers from stating “any quantitative results information.”

The tabulation process was disrupted in 17% of district tally centres, including in Kasese, Mbale, Bulambuli, Bujiri, Buikwe, Jinja, and Bukwo. These disruptions were due to several reasons, including delays in declaring results. Police were present in 41% of district tallying centres, the army was present in 15%, and crime preventers in 10%.

At the district level, party agents of Amama Mbabazi were present in 48% of tallying centres. Party agents of Yoweri Museveni were present in 93% of polling stations. Party agents of Kizza Besigye were present in 88% of polling stations.

  • Agents of Amama Mbabazi disagreed with the presidential results tally in 4% of tally centres where they were present, including in Butambala and Luuka.
  • Agents of Yoweri Museveni disagreed with the presidential results tally in 4% of centres where they were present, including in Kiboga, Butambala, Butaleja, Luuka, and Lira.
  • Agents of Kizza Besigye disagreed with the presidential results tally in 3% of centres, including in Butambala, Butaleja, and Luuka.

Across district tally centres, CEON-U observers noted that candidate agents requested a total of six recounts for presidential election results, which included Moyo, Luuka, and Mbarara.

In Jinja and Kabale, the Declaration of Results forms were not delivered to the district tallying centres. In 20% of district tally centres, returning officers did not make a copy of sub-country results available to party agents and observers.

CEON-U will continue to observer the local council elections and will issue a final report on the entire election in the coming weeks.


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For more information about CEON-U contact Dr. Martin Mwondha on 0788929052 or email or visit our website at

CEON – Uganda – Towards 2016: Conducting a Unified, Comprehensive and effective election Observation Mission in Uganda. You can also visit the FHRI offices in Nsambya.

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