Activists ask EC to provide updates on preparations for 2026 polls

Activists ask EC to provide updates on preparations for 2026 polls
EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama.

Democracy and governance activists have voiced concerns over the silence of Uganda's Electoral Commission (EC) regarding its roadmap activities for the upcoming 2026 general elections.

The activists are urging the commission to clarify its current activities as time is running out, especially in light of recent funding shortfalls. Despite these challenges, the EC insists it is on track.

In August of last year, the Electoral Commission launched its roadmap for the 2026 general elections, detailing a series of activities to be conducted leading up to the elections.

However, recent reports of budget cuts and delayed elections have raised concerns among experts like Henry Muguzi, who question the commission's silence.

"Nothing seems to be underway. It's crucial for the Electoral Commission to involve the public, who are major stakeholders," Muguzi emphasized.

He also urged the government, through the Ministry of Finance, to prioritize funding for the EC's activities.

"Given Uganda's post-conflict status, it's essential to ensure high-quality elections," Muguzi added.

The EC's roadmap outlined a series of key activities, including benchmarking electoral participation among citizens in the diaspora, prisons, persons with disabilities, and other special institutions, slated from 3rd June 2023 to 1st September 2023.

Additionally, the procurement of materials and services for demarcation of electoral areas and reorganization of polling stations was scheduled from 3rd April to 1st June 2024. Despite these timelines, the EC has remained silent about progress.

The EC spokesman, Julius Mucunguzi, reassured the public, stating that the commission is on course despite the funding challenges.

"We are working within our means and are confident that we will meet our targets for the 2026 general elections," he said.

However, doubts persist.

The Electoral Commission has already failed to conduct the Local Council and women council elections, attributing these delays to funding shortfalls.

The budget for the 2024/25 financial year allocates only shs150.183 billion to the EC, significantly short of the shs1.119 trillion  required to execute all planned activities.

As time ticks closer to the 2026 general elections, activists and the public at large are watching closely, expecting greater transparency and accountability from the Electoral Commission.

The hope is that the commission will soon provide a clear roadmap and adequate funding to ensure a democratic and fair electoral process.

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