The Electoral Commission has suspended the Citizens Coalition of Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) from observing elections in the country.
CCEDU describes itself as a coalition that brings together over 800 similar-thinking civil society organisations and over 8,000 individuals who advocate for electoral democracy in Uganda.
In his letter to CCEDU, Electoral Commission (EC) chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugyenyi, says they have resolved to suspend CCEDU as partners in disseminating voter education messages and as an election observer for being partisan.
A CCEDU official observing Kyadondo East by-election in Wakiso last year
EC also accuses CCEDU of shunning the Women Council elections calling it a sham despite the big voter turn up. Byabakama accuses the CCEDU officials of going to the media and discrediting the ongoing electoral processes.
"Many times CCEDU has acted outside the election observance guideline as set by the Electoral Commission, this undermines the objectivity and commitment in adhering to the laid down standards of engagement as far as election related activities are concerned," the July 4th letter reads.
EC says they need honest, credible and impartial partners, adding that their relations with CCEDU have been suspended until further notice. Byabakama says CCEDU will not observe current and any future elections. On its part CCEDU says it has been working to ensure free and fair elections.
Crispy Kaheru, the national coordinator CCEDU, says their differences with the Commission can be resolved through dialogue.
"We are also aware of the suspension of accreditation of CCEDU by the EC not to observe these and future elections as well as to conduct voter education. We consider this to be a difference in work methods. Whereas CCEDU believes in exposing good practices and shortcomings to ensure a free and fair election, the EC believes that CCEDU should merely document and share findings. This is a matter we strongly believe can be resolved through dialogue," Kaheru said.
Kaheru says they are opposed to voting by lining up, even as the country goes to the polls on Tuesday. He says they will voluntarily not observe this election.
"CCEDU subscribes to the internationally recognized standard of elections by secret ballot; and that is why members of the Coalition petitioned the Constitutional Court, for an appropriate interpretation of the law." Kaheru says.
CCEDU has always operated with a very dynamic social media team that publishes on their various platforms, electoral processes and malpractices in most of the elections in the country. They have also been a source of information for various media houses incapacitated by inadequate staff during elections.