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CCEDU apologises to EC over LC1 election remarks amid looming donor cuts

CCEDU coordinator, Crispin Kaheeru and election observers share insights with former FDC party president Kizza Besigye during the just concluded Rukungiri Woman MP by-elections. The EC suspended activities of the popular election monitors citing impartiality and have since then apologised to the electoral body (PML Daily PHOTO)

KAMPALA – The Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), a coalition of over 600 pro-democracy civil society organizations in Uganda, has in an unprecedented move apologized to the Electoral Commission (EC) following the suspension of its accreditation of election-related activities over misconduct.

CCEDU’s suspension by the EC came after the NGO’s Communication and Advocacy officer Charity Ahimbisibwe denounced the method of lining up behind candidates in LC1 elections, saying it was in breach of CCEDU’s principles of internationally recognized standard of elections by secret ballot.

In response, EC Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama suspended the NGO as observers in disseminating voter education messages. Justice Byabakama said CCEDU was conducting itself in a partisan manner which is controversial to the set guidelines to conduct voter education and other electoral activities.

At the time, CCEDU Coordinator Crispy Kaheru responded that they were not ready to compromise their principles and said they would not observe the LC1 elections.

However, this website has seen a letter dated July 5 in which Kaheru is apologizing for the statement.

“…we regret the remarks made by our senior manager, Communication and Advocacy Ms Charity Ahimbisibwe on July 4, 2018 on NBS Television as noted in your letter,” Kaheru’s letter to EC reads in part.

“Please accept our apology for the shortcomings registered during the period under review. We recognize that you hold us in high regard and pledge to improve our work methods as we carry out election-related activities for the common good,” the letter adds.

Highly placed sources have told this website that the apology came after CCEDU staff disagreed over the statement, with some claiming that donors would withdraw funding to the NGO, rending them redundant.

Also read: EC kicks popular NGO CCEDU out of LC polls

“Ahimbisibwe’s remarks did not in any way reflect the views of CCEDU with regard to the elections of the LC 1 Women Councils that took place on July 3, 2018, but rather her personal views. We recognize the gravity of the representations made about the elections on 3rd July 2018 and wish to inform you that we have taken immediate administrative sanctions on the CCEDU officer in question in accordance with our personnel policy,” the letter reads

“We fully recognize the importance of the on-going and upcoming local government elections. We look forward to prompt response on this matter to enable us proceed with plans to conduct voter education and election observation with respect to the elections in newly created municipalities…”

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