Saturday, June 5, 2010

Press Release Uganda watch 2011

Launch of UgandaWatch 2011

An independent hotline where citizens can report any problems with the electoral process with an SMS to 6090

For Release:
Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Press contact:
Jasper Tumuhimbise

Kampala, Uganda, 2 June 2010 -
With Uganda’s Electoral Commission extending electoral registration and under one million of the expected three million new registrants added to the voter rolls, two leading networks of NGOs working on promoting free and fair elections, DEMGroup and CCEDU announce the launch of UgandaWatch 2011.

“For the first time, citizens have the ability to report any problems they face with the election process in a simple and easy way – by sending an SMS to us on 6090,” said Jasper Tumuhimbise of DEMGroup.

“We know that people are having problems registering. Some people are not able to transfer their registration when they have moved to a new place. Others are finding that there is no equipment in their registration centres so they are unable to register.”

“People are finding these and other problems every day during registration. We are giving them a way to report these problems – by sending an SMS to 6090.”

“It’s about getting citizens to be active and participating in democracy.”

“In the past, people may have feared to report problems, but because we are non-partisan they know they can trust us. DEMGroup and CCEDU are networks of NGOs that specialise in democracy and have lots of experience in monitoring elections. So we promise to follow up their issues and keep their contact details anonymous,” said Mr Tumuhimbise.

When UgandaWatch2011 gets an SMS, we will do three things.
• We will use our local volunteers to verify the reports.
• We’ll put the reports on our website at where there will be a map showing what issues are coming up all over the country.
• We will coordinate with the Electoral Commission and the Police so that they are alerted when we become aware of issues and can act on them.

“I’m excited because I think that here in Uganda this idea can really take off. The networks tell us that 4 out of 10 Ugandan’s have access to a mobile phone, more than in neighbouring countries. That means that millions of people can use UgandaWatch2011. You can text in your own language, and you should know that we have local representatives who can follow up on your issues,” said Gwada of CCEDU.

“We hope people will use UgandaWatch2011 all over the country to report issues with registration. We’ll be here all the way up to the election, so where there is vote buying, or misuse of resources, or intimidation, or any of those issues, we want people to SMS 6090 to tell us.” Jasper says.

“It’s our duty as Ugandans is to safeguard our own elections. With 6090, now we can.” Said Regina Bafaki (Vice Chairperson DEMGroup, ACFODE).

• Each SMS to UgandaWatch 2011 costs only 100 UGS
• Contact details of people who SMS to remain anonymous
• People can send a message in any language
• Website published in English, Luganda, Luo, Ateso, Swahili and 4Rs.
• DEMGroup is Democracy Monitoring Group, a coalition of NGOs including: Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), Action for Development (ACFODE), Transparency International Uganda (TIU), and the Centre for Democratic Governance (CDG).
• CCEDU is Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda, a coalition including: XXXX


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