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Access To Critical Information By Voters Still Wanting-Report

AFIC ED, Gilbert Sendugwa speaking to Stakeholders in a training at Fairway hotel

Lack of information on electoral processes is failing Ugandans to make informed decisions on which leaders to vote, Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) has said.

AFIC report conducted in July 2020 indicates that lack of information on election processes has undermined citizens’ participation in the processes and increased mistrust of the outcomes of election processes.

The project according to Gilbert Sendugwa, AFIC Executive Director, aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability in electoral processes in Africa especially in Uganda, Gambia, and Zambia. He sad that there is need to promote access to information, increase participation of citizens and enhance proactive discloser of information by elections bodies.

“Lack of access to information has affected the ability of citizens in Africa to effectively and meaningfully participate in elections. We seek to bridge the gap of citizens’ access to information in elections. Elections in Africa in the finding are characterized by secrecy, malpractices, lack of trust for processes and outcomes,” he said.

During a one- day stakeholders training held at Fairway Hotel on Thursday 26th November 2020, Sendugwa said that there is need to have appropriate laws implemented to enable people access and use information in elections to allow high voter participation including informing on candidates, voting dates, guidelines among others in the forthcoming general elections in Uganda.

“While the Government of Uganda prepare for this important step to democratic governance, it should adhere to human rights standards like the right to access to information to ensure a free and fair elections in 2021,” he added.

Sendugwa recommended to parliament to use their oversight role and compel ministers to comply to Access to information law and ensure the process of selecting and appointment of electoral bodies to be transparent and allow public participation.

He urged security authorities to refrain from exercising excessive force which he said undermines citizens to exercise their rights.

 He also called upon political parties to disclose their finance sources among others.

The Africa Commission on Human Rights and People’s rights adopted guidelines to provide direction to relevant elections stakeholders who have a duty to proactively disclose information in their possession or control that are necessary for safeguarding the integrity and legitimacy of electoral processes.

By Drake Nyamugabwa

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