Saturday, June 5, 2010

UGANDA watch 2011

What a new approach to the iniative; We need to use some of these to advance democracĂ˝

UgandaWatch 2011 Media Brief

What is UgandaWatch 2011?

It's an independent citizen oriented hotline where citizens are encouraged to report any problems they face with the electoral process. You just have to send an SMS to us on 6090.

Who is UgandaWatch 2011?
The first thing to say is that it's not connected with any political party or government. UgandaWatch 2011 is created for citizens by citizens.

It’s run by DEMGroup (Democracy Monitoring Group) and CCEDU (Citizen’s Coalition for Democracy in Uganda).

Our member organizations have expertise in human rights and good governance. They also have local representation with NGOs working in democracy, election monitoring and human rights all over Uganda.

Why do you think people need UgandaWatch 2011?
If people see problems with the election and with voter registration, now they are able to report them. People that might have feared going to the existing authorities to report problems can now send the report to an independent organization with no connections to parties or government.

How will citizens use UgandaWatch 2011?
People can report on any problems that they see with the electoral process, for example if;
• they are unable to register, they should tell us.
• the registration center is closed when it should be open, they should tell us.
• they see people registering who are foreigners or too young, or people registering multiple times, they should tell us.

As we get closer to the election, people will also be able to report common problems like vote buying, intimidation, violence, media bias, and other election abuses through sending messages.

So when I send an SMS to UgandaWatch 2011, then what happens?

Three things. One, we put it on the internet at where you can see a map showing where people are reporting problems all over the country.

Two, we will try to verify your reports. We may call you back to get clarification, and our local representatives will visit affected areas to find out more.

Three, we will follow up. We will forward reported problems to the Electoral Commission and Police, so that they are informed and able to act as soon as possible.

So you are highlighting problems with elections, isn’t that negative and biased?

No. If people report that registration is going on fine and there are no problems, we will publish that information also.

We are not connected with any party. We want to know if representatives of any party are committing election abuses, whether it’s CP, DP, FDC, JEEMA, NRM, UPC, or any other party.

We will liaise with the Electoral Commission, and let them know where there are problems. So in fact, we are helping to improve the electoral process.

How can UgandaWatch2011 help us?

First, it can highlight where there are problems, so that we can follow up. Secondly, it is a source of information, and thirdly, it acts as an early-warning system. For example, if we get SMS’s telling us about a registration centre being closed, we can contact the Electoral Commission so they can act and re-open the centre as quickly as possible. If we get reports of intimidation, we can follow up with our local monitors and inform the police before there is any violence. UgandaWatch2011 will help build confidence in our electoral process.

How much does it cost to use UgandaWatch2011?

Each SMS costs 100 UGS.

I can’t read English what can I do?

You can SMS us in any language. And the website is not only in English, it’s also in Luo, Luganda, Ateso, Runyankole/ Rukiga, and Swahili. If you can get internet access, you will be able to see what’s going on all over Uganda in your local language.


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