U. S Officials Speak Ahead Of 2016 Elections

1964 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The highest number of conflicts that are being reported are as a result of irregularities in the election of flag bearers for political parties in the country with the most incidences recorded in the ruling National Resistance Movement NRM party primaries.

Officials of the United States government in Uganda have warned that numerous conflicts should be expected in 2016 as a result of the irregularities so far registered in the pre-election period in Uganda.
This warning was sounded by officials of the U.S Embassy in Kampala during an interface with journalists at their offices in Nsambya, Kampala on Friday.

The highest number of conflicts reported has been as a result of irregularities in the election of flag bearers for political parties in the country with the most incidences recorded in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party primaries.

The U.S has deployed and supports conflict monitors in all the districts of Uganda to look out for risk factors that could fuel violent conflicts in the communities and document them.

The conflict monitors provide monthly reports to the embassy officials, and is then compiled  and the findings shared with state agencies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to develop strategies to mitigate the looming conflict.
The United States government's interest in the elections is to protect their numerous investments in the country in the health, education and agriculture sectors among others, through ensuring political stability in the country.
Nils Mueller the Democracy and Governance officer at the embassy reveals that land still remains the most violence prone factor in the country and in the recent months the threats tend towards election related incidences.
//Cue in: ‘Right now we…
Cue out: …community leaders.'//
The U.S is also monitoring the progress of the elections through local election observer organisations under their umbrella the Citizen's Electoral Observer Network (CEON) that has at least eighteen member organisations spread across the country and the Electoral Commission.
Carla Benini the Deputy Political and Economic Counselor at the embassy says the U.S government is keenly monitoring the electoral processes in the country by ensuring that the elections are free and fair.
//Cue in: ‘Another thing that…
Cue out: …as the outcome.'//
The United States has also taken with keen interest the violation of journalists during election periods. Nils says that they are working with Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) and the African Center for Media Excellence (ACME) Uganda to train journalists on how to cover the elections.
The US has also set aside an unspecified amount of money to provide legal support to journalists who will be violated by police, politicians or their supporters during the election period. The embassy has also engaged journalists on election reporting with senior international political reporters.


About the author

Annet Lekuru
Annet Lekuru is the Uganda Radio Network bureau chief for Arua. She is new in this post, assigned August 2016. However, she is no stranger to URN subcribers and readers.

Lekuru started her journalism career in 2011 with training from Radio Paris where she worked until April 2015. She started writing for URN in May 2015 as a freelance reporter.

Lekuru loves and continues to admire URN because of the reporter privilege to identify and report on issues close to one's heart which offers an opportunity to the reporter to develop a passion in a beat and report on it exhaustively.

With a background training in Conflict Sensitive Journalism she hopes to graduate into doing remarkable and recognised human rights and human interest stories in the near future.

She is interested in reporting on issues of justice, law, human rights and health.