President Yoweri Museveni has assured the European Union election monitoring team in Uganda that the upcoming national elections will be free, fair and will be conducted without any form of violence.
The President met the European Union election monitoring team led by their team leader and chief observer Mr. Eduard Kukan who called on him at his country home in Rwakitura in Kiruhuura district.
The delegation was accompanied by the European Union head of delegation in Uganda Mr. Kristian Schmidt.
President Museveni who took the delegation through the history of elections in Uganda right from the independence time told the delegation that the National Resistance Movement has done a lot to ensure that the electoral process in Uganda is free, fair and transparent right from the first election held under the NRM to elect the constituency assembly delegates in 1993.
He said that unlike in the past elections, new measures to ensure that elections are free and fair were introduced, such as using of a single ballot box for all candidates, counting, tallying and announcing of votes at the polling station on the same day and having agents of all candidates countersign on the results declaration forms before ballots are taken.
The President stressed that the electoral measures implemented, the country’s electoral process has greatly improved but admitted that there remain a few challenges.
He for example, noted that in some areas the electoral process depends on the vigilance of the electorate and noted where the citizens are not vigilant criminals engage in multiple voting, while others vote when they are not on the register and also engage in many other electoral offences.
The other challenge the President admitted was the struggle to computerize the voters register so as not to depend on human beings who may sometimes be part of the rigging process.
He said that although the government is making some stride to computerize the register for easy identification of voter and the transmission of results, there are reports of some groups of criminals working underground to interfere with the computerized process to disrupt the election but noted that they have already been detected and reported and the police is investigating the matter.
He assured the European Union observer team that there can’t be any violence during the election or post election process in Uganda because the elections will be held in a convincingly free and fair environment that does not warrant violence but stressed that if any one attempts to perpetuate violence, the state of Uganda is strong enough and well equipped to handle such a situation.
On the role of crime preventers in the country, the President said that the crime preventers are a group of citizen volunteers that contribute to community policing.
“They are not armed and they are just in their communities like a reserve and I think whoever is worried about them wants to commit crimes against Ugandans” he said.
The President assured the European Union delegation that Uganda was set to transform into a middle income country in the coming decade and will be a first world country in 30 years if not interrupted.
The President, the head of the European delegation in Uganda and the European Union election observer team also discussed the political situation in Burundi and efforts to bring about lasting peace in the East African country.