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Political parties in the dark ahead of non-unionised workers delegates conference – CCEDU

KAMPALA –  As political parties gain sobriety after the rigorous primaries in the  recent preparation for the forth coming elections.  On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, the non-unionised workers’ delegates conference  across the various regions will be held in preparation for the election of workers representatives and workers Members of Parliament.

For starters, each region that includes; Northern, Eastern, Central and Western is expected to hold a delegates conference where delegates will be elected under the supervision of the Electoral Commission.

An electoral college is a set of people who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organisations, political parties, or entities. Each is represented by a particular number of electors or votes weighted by the Electoral Commission.

 Unfortunately after checking with three political parties prior to the release of this statement,  The Citizens Coalition Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) established that they were not aware that this national exercise was taking place on Wednesday.

The Constitution in articles 21, 38, 29, 36, 30 and 80 guarantees rights for anyone to run for a position of leadership. These articles among others provide for the protection against any form of discrimination, provide for civic and political rights and set out qualifications for one to be eligible to run for one to be able to run for a political office in the media. 

The National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) was established by Decree No. 29 of 1973 and is currently the most representative labour organisation in Uganda with 20 affiliates. It is a non-profit organisation that represents millions of Ugandan workers. Uganda has about 20 unions affiliated to the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) and NOTU. The Electoral Commission indicated the programme to conduct elections for MPs representing workers on June 16, 2020 when a revised roadmap was launched.

Article 40 of the Constitution, stipulates that workers have the right to form and join trade unions of their choice for purposes of collective bargaining. Towards the 2016 general elections, the Attorney General presented new amendments suggesting that 40 delegates, a third of whom should be women, shall be nominated by the non-unionised workers from Northern, Eastern, Central, and Western Uganda. Each region was expected to hold a non-unionised workers’ conference during which 40 delegates from the Electoral College would be elected under the supervision of the Electoral Commission. The delegates would join the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU), the Central Organization of Free Trade Unions (COFTU), and seven others directly nominated by every labour union to form the Electoral College.

Conclusion:

Whereas it is commendable that the Electoral Commission has resorted to putting out press statements about all key processes, this information is largely accessed by people who have smart phones who constitute only 5 million of the 17.7 million voters. This information will also only be accessed by 4% of the Uganda Population who access the internet on a daily basis, according to a recently released Afrobarometer report. More needs to be done to get the daily updates on electoral processes to political parties and voters’ in hard to reach areas.

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