Official Launch of CCEDU
Elections are an essential part of the democratization process and citizens’ ability to participate in free and fair elections is one of the cardinal pillars of a democratic and just society. For any electoral process to be meaningful to the citizens, it must register a reasonable level of satisfaction to attain legitimacy given that, as it is the foundation for democratic governance and promotion of integrity in any electoral process. The concept of ‘legitimacy’ represents acceptance of the underlying ‘rules of the game’, so that all actors, even electoral losers, willingly consent to rule by the regime, without the sanction of force. Legitimacy, in Seymour Martin Lipset’s words, “involves the capacity of a political system to engender and maintain the belief that existing political institutions are the most appropriate and proper ones for the society.” However, when citizens doubt the efficacy of any electoral process or its quality, then it sets a foundation and pattern for dispute of election results and loss of billions of public resources. Should these challenges consistently remain unanswered, it can build a disgruntled citizenry and result in serious consequences leading to riots, destruction of property and loss of lives as witnessed in Kenya (2007), Zimbabwe (2008) and Iran (2009).

Civil Society interest in the Electoral Process in Uganda and the Formation of a Citizens’ Coalition on Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU)
It is with the above contention in mind that a number of civil society organizations came together to forge a coordinated effort leading to the progressive improvement in the electoral process in Uganda, especially in light of the forthcoming general elections in 2011 and future elections in Uganda. As part of the process to improve coordination and action amongst civil society organisations, a number of organisations have agreed on the idea of establishing a Citizens Coalition on Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU). The overriding agenda of this coalition is to advocate and promote integrity, transparency and active citizen participation in Uganda’s electoral process in order to deepen democracy in Uganda.

CCEDU is a broad coalition spearheaded by like-minded civil society organisations united in the desire to create synergy in various electoral democracy efforts currently being undertaken throughout the country. Its role will be to ensure that these initiatives, whether electoral monitoring, civic engagement or electoral reform, and targeting women, youth, the disabled and all sectors of the population, will speak with a collective voice which will mobilize the Ugandan citizenry. In the run up to the formation of CCEDU, several consultations were held with both state and nonstate actors representing a range of constituencies and disciplines, including NGOs, government, political parties and development partners. A key outcome from these consultations was a desire to see civil society actors play a more frontline role in mobilising citizens to make demands and participate in efforts aimed at realising an electoral process in Uganda that is respected by citizens and has full legitimacy.

In due consideration of other ongoing state and non state initiatives on electoral reforms in Uganda and with lessons from other countries the promoters of CCEDU have considered an identity, vision and mission that adds value to existing work. The identity of CCEDU is shaped along the following important parameters:

CCEDU’s Vision, Mission, Objectives and Values
A Uganda where the principles and practices of electoral democracy are respected and upheld

To promote integrity, transparency and active citizen participation in Uganda’s electoral process.

The Immediate Objectives of CCEDU are:

  1. Advocate for a more enabling legal framework in Uganda’s electoral democracy;
  2. Contribute to the progressive increase in capacity and awareness of Ugandan citizens about their electoral rights and duties;
  3. Generate, analyse and disseminate election related reports and developments in the democratization process;
  4. Provide a platform to generate a common civil society voice on electoral reform and democracy issues in Uganda.

The Ultimate aims of CCEDU are to:

  1. Promote wide stakeholder appreciation and commitment to democracy and good governance in Uganda;
  2. Enhance the legitimacy and integrity of the electoral process in Uganda;
  3. Strengthen citizens’ contributions to positive electoral reforms aimed at promoting free and fair elections and electoral democracy in Uganda.

In pursuing its vision, mission and objectives, CCEDU is guided by the following values:

  • Transparency
  • Accountability of the electoral system
  • Respect for human and civic rights and duties
  • Tolerance
  • Gender equity and equal opportunity
  • Non partisanship
  • Equitable Citizen participation
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