Public Policy Institute (PPI)

Delivering Safe and Credible Elections Amidst COVID-19 In Uganda

12 January 2023

Following the return to multiparty politics in 2005, Uganda has made several attempts to strengthen its democratic governance. The Government has enacted a series of legal, policy and institutional arrangements to ensure free and fair elections. Although the country is in high gear preparing for its fourth multiparty elections, recent developments in the electoral environment like the novel ‘scientific campaigns and elections’ due to the global COVID-19 pandemic; emergence of the youth-led ‘People Power’ political pressure group and the violence that riddled internal party primary elections for party flag bearers especially in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party may imply plausible potential for electoral violence and related offenses if serious attention and urgent solutions are not found.

These developments are further intensified by unresolved grievances in previous elections like the unfulfilled demands for political and electoral reforms; political persecution and excessive use of force by the country’s security agencies against the opposition and deep mistrust of the independence of the Electoral Commission to organize free, fair and credible elections.

This paper therefore analyses recent developments in the electoral environment ahead of the 2021 general elections and builds plausible scenarios to depict the likelihood of electoral violence and its implications on attaining free, fair, and credible elections. It thereby attempts to map probable hot spots for violence and finally assesses the preparedness of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) to mitigate the potential for violence and deliver free, fair and credible elections.