Voters in Uganda will be going to the polls for parliamentary and presidential elections on 14 January.
As the EU and other partners have noted, the pre-electoral cycle has been marred by violence and numerous difficulties faced by several opposition presidential candidates, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, electoral experts as well as journalists. The excessive use of force by law enforcement and security agencies has seriously tarnished this electoral process.
At this crucial time, the EU expects transparent, inclusive and credible elections, as well as a level-playing field that allows all Ugandans to exercise their democratic rights, as candidates and as citizens, without fear of intimidation or violence. Crucial work of human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organisations should be supported to ensure accountability and transparency.
European Union observers, who were deployed across the country during elections in 2006, 2011 and 2016 will not observe these elections. The EU’s offer to deploy a small team of electoral experts was not taken up. The role of local observers will be even more important than before.
Shared values of democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law will continue underpinning European Union relations with Uganda in 2021 and beyond.