Chief Justice launches Democracy Torch and Democracy Exhibition
KAS and ACFODE achieve another milestone in EU-supported project
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In a solemn function, Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki has launched the Democracy Torch. It is part of a campaign to increase awareness on democratic principles among the Ugandan people and to remind political leaders of their commitment to democratic values. The campaign is part of the project "Action for Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability" which KAS is implementing together with the local partner ACFODE with support from the EU. The torch will be taken to the 11 target districts of the project together with a Democracy Exhibition which was presented at the same event.
Chief Justice Odoki commended KAS and ACFODE for the innovative project component. In his remarks he particularly highlighted the symbolism of the torch: „The torch is a wonderful symbol in many ways. The flame that is burning symbolises a spirit – a spirit of passion and commitment. A small flame can even ignite something much bigger. So as the torch travels to the 11 districts, let the people be ignited by the spirit it symbolises. Let it remind the leaders and citizens of the democratic spirit we should all carry in our hearts. The torch is a reminder and a strong statement that confirms our commitment to democratic leadership!”
He further went on by highlighting that the torch also brings light: “So let this light be carried to all the districts and let it enlighten the leaders and the citizens! Let it bring brightness and let it remove all the dark shadows that we sometimes find in the corridors of power – the shadows of dishonesty, secrecy and corruption. Let the light of the torch provide guidance on the path to strong and inclusive democracy”, appealed Odoki.
Before the guest of honour‘s remarks, Yusuf Kiranda, responsible Project Manager at KAS, explained the background of the project. He also presented the materials of the “democracy exhibition” which will travel to all 11 target districts together with the democracy torch. Simple information materials such as banners, posters and flyers aim at explaining the values and principles of democracy to the ordinary citizens with the help of comic images.
The Speaker of Jinja District Council, Richard Mayengo, spoke on behalf of the target groups of the project and thanked KAS and ACFODE for their work. He emphasised that the training activities already carried out under the project helped to strengthen both political leaders and civil society activitists in their capacity to promote democratic governance. Now people were looking forward to the next steps in the project and particularly the reception of the democracy torch in the districts.
The activities under the „Action for Strengthening Good Governance and Accountability“ are financially supported by the European Union through the “Democratic Governance and Accountability Programme”. The Chargé d’Affairs of the EU delegation to Uganda, Deputy Ambassador Anna Carin Platon, highlighted the engagement of the European Union in democracy promotion in Uganda and thanked the Ugandan partners for the fruitful cooperation.
After the series of speeches the event finally reached its climax: assisted by Project Manager Yusuf Kiranda and ACFODE Executive Director Regina Bafaki the Chief Justice lit the democracy torch. What followed were moments of passion and enthusiasm: Accompanied by the applause of the 120 invited guests and the flashlights of several journalists the torch was passed around. Prominent representatives were eager to take the torch into their hands to lift it up and thereby express their commitment to the promotion of democracy.
Long after these impressive moments many of the guests were still together in the evening hours. The cocktail reception that followed the launch of the torch provided an opportunity for personal interaction and for admiring the information material of the democracy exhibition, which received a very positive feedback.
The launch marks the starting point for a long journey that lies ahead for the democracy torch and the exhibition. In the coming weeks both will be received in all 11 target districts of the project.
Uganda, July 17, 2012