Voters Education Module Launched
In effort to equip Ugandan citizens with knowledge on electoral processes and to prepare them for the forthcoming general elections, the Uganda Project Implementation and Management Centre (UPIMAC) produced a Voters' Education Module which was launched on 31 August 2015, at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
The Chairperson of the Uganda Electoral Commission, Dr. Badru Kiggundu who graced the event as the Chief Guest, thanked UPIMAC for coordinating efforts to deliver voters' education at a time when the national general elections are drawing closer. He reiterated the fact that while the Commission carries the constitutional mandate to organize elections in the country, the onus to ensure that elections are free and fair belongs to all Ugandans. Elections are for all of us and by all of us he emphasized, adding that he was happy the Commission has received a number of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) applications for accreditation to participate in voters’ education. Eng. Kiggundu noted that past experience has shown that voters' education does not necessarily translate into high voter turn-up, and challenged Voters' Education CSOs to explore other factors that influence voter turn-up. He further cautioned that information is dynamic and some information in the module might be overtaken by new developments. He, therefore, advised Voters' Education CSOs to keep abreast with new developments so that they are able to share the right information with citizens to avoid contradictions. Mr Steven Nyabongo, the Chief Executive Officer at UPIMAC, thanked the Electoral Commission and the DGF for supporting the development of Voters' Education Module, which is the 13th module of the Civic Education Curriculum. He informed the audience that the module is an outcome of concerted efforts of state and non-state actors collaborating under the Civic Education Coalition in Uganda (CECU), which was formed by in December, 2014. He decried the absence of a national Civic Education Policy as a key challenge in the conduct of civic education, and called on the Government to enact the policy to regulate the conduct civic education in the country. The Head of Programme at the DGF, Helen Mealins, noted that the DGF supports voters' education to enable citizens' play their role effectively in ensuring free and fair elections. She noted that besides voters' education, the DGF supports voters' mobilization and election observation. She urged the CSOs to identify gaps in the process of delivering voter education, and use them as positive lessons to take corrective actions. She was happy to note that CECU demonstrates a good example of cooperation between state and non-state actors in the country to advance the cause of democratization. During plenary sharing, representative of Voters' Education CSOs brought to the attention of the Commission their concerns including: inadequate communication from the Commission on the election roadmap for various levels of election; the need for clarity on the role of the national ID Cards during elections; and the need to address issues of campaign financing, misuse of public resources, role of security agencies, and media coverage during campaigns and elections. In response Eng. Kiggundu noted that efforts are being undertaken to address those concerns, and asked for support from everyone to ensure free and fair elections.