15 February 2011

Uganda: Kiggundu Calls for Objective Poll Monitoring

ELECTORAL Commission (EC) chairman Eng. Badru Kiggundu yesterday called on accredited election observers to be objective as they ascertain fairness and objectivity in Friday's polls.

"The commission is confident that your presence will definitely give confidence to the electoral process and thus enhance integrity in the process and thereby legitimise democracy," he said.

Kiggundu together with the Inspector General of Police Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura were briefing the observers at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

Kiggundu handed out observation kits containing information and indicating the responsibilities of each stakeholder in the electoral process.

The kit also contains a handbook detailing the areas to look at before, during and after the polling process.

"As stakeholders in the quest for peaceful, credible, free and fair elections, I urge you to be objective in your mission and to prepare and share the observation report with the implementers of the process. These reports are highly valuable for short, medium and long term planning," Kiggundu added.

He reiterated the position of the commission that voter's cards would not be a mandatory requirement for one to vote.

"Anyone should be allowed to vote as long as he or she can be identified by fellow villagers and his name is in the register," he said.

Kayihura assured the observers of total security during the polling period.

"I assure you, Uganda has never been as safe and secure as it is today. Let nobody scare you," he said.

He urged the observers and the general public to disregard the messages being circulated on phones of looming chaos during the polling period.

He said the country had been divided into 29 policing zones for the election and called on the public to be vigilant and work hand in hand with the Police to ensure peace prevailed.

The Police Chief warned against use of 'brigades' trained by individuals in the guise of guarding votes. He said whoever was interested in transparency should work hand in hand with the national security agencies.

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