Uganda Aims to Break Cycle of Election Violence

Uganda Aims to Break Cycle of Election Violence
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Uganda is setting its sights on a future free from electoral bloodshed. The Ugandan Human Rights Commission (UHRC) recently joined forces with the National Consultative Forum (NCF) to chart a course for peaceful elections in 2026.

Haunted by the Past:

Previous elections, particularly those in 2021, were tainted by violence. Deaths, injuries, and lasting trauma cast a long shadow over the country's democratic process. Opposition parties voiced their anxieties about a restricted civic space, fearing retaliation for political activity.

Building a Brighter Future:

The UHRC and NCF are determined to break this cycle. Their discussions centered on fostering an inclusive and peaceful electoral environment. Upholding ethical conduct by political parties and their members is a crucial pillar of this strategy. Revitalizing the existing code of conduct for political parties, emphasizing transparency and respect, is another key step.

Learning from Mistakes:

Acknowledging past wrongs is vital for progress. The UHRC is committed to addressing concerns about voter intimidation and brutality. A participant from the Activists Party recounted a harrowing story of a young man who was permanently disabled during election-related violence.

A Collaborative Effort:

The proposed solutions involve a multi-pronged approach. Joint training sessions for both political leaders and voters aim to foster understanding and respect. Real-time monitoring through election observers deployed at every polling station will help ensure transparency and deter misconduct. Collaboration with various stakeholders, including civil society and international observers, will further strengthen the process.

Breaking the Cycle:

The specter of violence that has haunted past elections in Uganda is a stark reminder of the importance of this initiative. Some even expressed fears of a descent into ethnic violence similar to the Rwandan genocide. By proactively addressing these concerns, Uganda can pave the way for a future where elections are a celebration of democracy, not a catalyst for bloodshed.

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