Authorities in Uganda have finally allowed a team from the European Union (EU) to participate in the country’s general elections slated for tomorrow 14th January 2021.
“On January 14th, the EU Delegation will together with the 10 EU Member State Embassies present in Uganda as well as the Embassy of Iceland participate in a “diplomatic watch” where diplomats already accredited into the country will follow the voting and counting of votes” Mr Emmanuel Gyezaho, the press advisor to delegation said.
Gyezaho noted that initially, the EU offered the Government of Uganda to send an Electoral Expert Mission (EEM) for the 2021 elections, consisting of three independent senior professional electoral experts but the offer was not turned down.
The team of experts according to EU would provide recommendations for improvement of the electoral process.
The diplomatic watch however, must not be confused with EU electoral observation. The ‘diplomatic watch’ exercise, according to Gyezaho, will collect basic information about the conduct of the elections for use in “internal political reporting.”
According to Mr Gyezaho, the EU delegation in Uganda will therefore not make any public statements on the conduct of the 2021 elections.
The US Mission in Uganda on Wednesday announced late withdrawal from their plan to participate in elections after Uganda’s Electoral Commission denied more than 75 percent of the US election observer accreditations requested.
US Ambassador in Uganda Natalie Brown said only 15 accreditations approved for the US would not meaningfully observe the conduct of polls across Uganda.
Relatedly, a team of 74 East African Community observers were yesterday flagged off to oversee the Thursday polls led by former Burundi President Domitien Ndagizeye.