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Electoral processes in Uganda have been characterized by violence during and after elections. The recent manifestations in Ntungamo, Gulu and Mukono have demonstrated that the potential threat for outbreaks of violence is real. There are several causes of violence during and after elections. Some of the factors may include the failure of the Electoral Commission to organize and deliver a credible free and fair election.
Meanwhile political leaders have not done enough to restrain their party members and supporters from engaging in acts of violence during campaigns and elections. Without commitment from party leaders to peaceful means of participating in elections, the potential for incidences of violence may be on the rise. Similarly, the Electoral Commission of Uganda has not taken action on candidates who have not adhered to the guidelines to be followed during campaigns and in elections. Most of the guidelines have been breached, but without any punitive action from the EC.
The youth, who make up the majority of Uganda’s population, are at the center of this potential threat to peace and security. If the youth from different political parties are not guided and restrained by their leaders, chances of clashes between them are high. In addition, the recruitment of crime preventers and other militia groups during the electoral period has raised suspicion about the motive of government. Similarly, most leaders are making threatening statements against their opponents. This state of affairs does not positively reflect well on Uganda’s democratic process.
A workshop will explore the logics and rationale of peaceful engagement in elections and thereafter discussing and drafting the IYOP special Communiqué on peaceful elections. The public dialogue will follow suit the next day at Hotel Africana. Various stakeholders including the Uganda Electoral Commission, Uganda Police, the academia and civic society sector will participate in the event. A panel of experts on peaceful elections will lead the panel discussion, followed by a plenary session.
The youth will come together and propose their views on how youth can peacefully involve themselves in the forthcoming election. In the process, the youth will share a communiqué, with key stakeholders, with recommendations on what can be done to minimize the potential for youth to act violently.