24 February 2024


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FOWODE engages ‘voters’ as knowledge gaps remain a big issue   

At least 1,286 citizens in the Acholi sub-region among them women, elders, youths and people living with disabilities have been consulted on constitutional reforms by Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE).
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The FOWODE team engaging Gulu people on elections knowledge. Photo by Okot Lil/TNDNews.

Last Updated on: 25th May 2023, 10:58 am

Gulu, May 25, 2023: ‘Voters’ in the Acholi sub-region have called for Constitutional review and civic education as a foundation for democracy. 

They say the current electoral dynamics are because of the lack of constitutional reforms which allow a country to adopt free and fair elections.

At least 1,286 citizens in the Acholi sub-region among them women, elders, youths and people living with disabilities have been consulted on constitutional reforms by Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE).

The consultations took place in Bungatira, Owoo, Patiko and Unyama sub-counties in Gulu district. Gulu City, Kitgum, Lamwo, Agago, Pader, Nwoya, Amuru and Omoro districts were equally consulted. 

There have been numerous attempts by Parliament, Judiciary, Political groups, Civils Society organisation, and religious leaders among other citizens to improve the Uganda electoral processes; to strengthen its credibility but has not yet yielded tangible fruits. 

According to Article One [1] of the 1995 Uganda Constitution, power belongs to the people. 

TND News’ Lil Okot discussed with some participants during the FOWODE engagement in Gulu City. 

Pastor Peter Obina, a political Radio/TV analyst in Gulu City comments that there are no common constitutional reforms and civics education in Uganda. He urged and criticised the citizens for not taking concerns in following the constitution. 

“In Uganda, we do not look into important issues to be solved, for example, Northern Uganda has suffered for over 25 years in war still affecting people and also constitutional justice law up to now the matters have not been discussed before the parliament to get the solutions,” Pastor Peter revealed. 

Obina, however, noted that the citizens of Uganda are not willing to adopt civic education, claiming that only the NRM is promoting it. 

To him, a little per cent of civic education given needs to be appreciated because ‘we are moving’. He noted that a political party is just ‘a body’ – people should look toward Vision 2040 but not look backwards at the party structures. 

Laker Gloria Grace is a researcher at Gulu University under the Faculty of Peace and Strategic Study. She said the ignorance of the voters to understand the meaning and the roles of voting by the electoral commission due to gaps in civic education. 

She added that the government is putting too much on nomination fees: for the President is at shs20 million, MPs at shs3 million, accordingly leaving some gaps to the vulnerable person who is capable.  

“Polling stations should not be put near army, police personnel and hotspot areas which borders neighbouring countries to avoid pre-tick ballot papers or multiplication of election by some foreigners across the borders. Also, put on independent bodies to handle free and fair elections.”

 Richard Onencan, the executive director of Youth Advocacy Alliance Uganda, said the level of economic empowerment is killing the locals not to understand the meaning and significance of civic education and constitutional reforms to our voters. 

Lira City

“You find people are running after candidates for only shs2000 not knowing the consequences of feedback to come on them after voting.”

Okello Geoffrey Ojibu, a consultant on governance noted that faith without action is just like playing cards or gambling but not to support one another. 

 “The level of appointment of Cabinet ministers, RCCs, RDCs, among others is contradicting free and fair elections in Uganda because they look for a way of supporting that candidate.”

Ayoo Phoebe Obol, speaker of Gulu district said that the electoral commission should continue sensitising the public on civic education but not only wait for the period of election to come and then they start to promote civic education. 

 The PRO of Aswa River Region, David Ongom Mudong commented that it is right security is mandated to vote. 

“As police, we punish any act of misconduct which contradicts the election but we do not go against the laws of Uganda.”

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