The row between Uganda’s government and the European Union (EU) over the invitation and accreditation of the latter to observe 2021 elections is deepening.
A war of words, largely playing in the media, has been ongoing after the EU claimed Kampala had not invited observers from the powerful federation.
Government now says it is concerned that the EU has chosen to run to the media to spread falsehoods about the invitation to observe next year’s polls, instead of using official channels.
At the weekend, Daily Monitor quoted EU’s head of delegation to Uganda Attilio Pacifici as claiming that Kampala had not sent invitations for an observer group from the union as had been the case in previous polls.
Pacifici also claimed that the Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni administration had failed to implement recommendations given by the 2016 election EU observer group.
EU observers had advised government to allow the Electoral Commission (EC) become more independent of influence from the government in power, by among others, seeking the participation of all political players and the civil society in the appointment of commissioners, giving the election management body powers to punish candidates, including the incumbent president and members of his party, who fail to comply with electoral guidelines, and the knocking of the Public Order Management Act (Poma) from the country’s law books.
Dissatisfied with the reforms carried out through the passing into law of the bills, including the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill 2019, Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill 2019, Electoral Commissions Amendment Bill 2019, Political Parties and Organisations Amendment Bill 2019, and Local Governments Amendment Bill 2019, the EU reportedly dragged its feet on sending observers for the 2021 election.
UGANDA ON EU OBSERVER GROUP INVITATION
But Kampala, through the ministry of foreign affairs, says it regrets the ‘misleading remarks’ made by Pacifici.
The ministry said it extended invitation to all diplomatic missions and international organisations accredited to Uganda as early as December 2019 and later in July 2020.
“The EU is one of those missions,” said the ministry in a statement.
“The invitation was duly acknowledged by the Office of the EU Head of Delegation. The response to the invitation, dated September 03, 2020, indicated that the EU would conduct what they termed as a ‘Diplomatic Watchdog Exercise.”
Government says it has also accredited lists of diplomats to serve as observer as sent by the EU, with the latest updates on the same made on November 17.