The Norwegian Government has committed NOK 25 million (approximately US$ 2.7 million/UGX 10 billion) to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s election support project “Strengthening Electoral Processes in Uganda” (SEPU). UNDP is working with UN Women, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in implementing SEPU.
As a response to the Electoral Commission’s invitation to the United Nations (UN) to support the 2020/2021 elections in Uganda, the UN deployed an electoral needs assessment mission in March 2019. The mission recommended UNDP to develop an integrated electoral assistance project to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Electoral Commission and other institutions with an electoral support mandate, such as the Police, Judiciary, media, civil society and political parties. Voter education, stakeholder engagement, peace building and promotion of electoral participation for women, youth and people with disabilities are also important components.
“Through the Norwegian support to the UNDP Project “Strengthening Electoral Processes in Uganda”, our aim is to assist and support Ugandan institutions, the civil society and political parties in ensuring fair, open and peaceful elections in 2021. Joining forces with the UNDP and building on its experience in electoral support, is particularly important today given the addition challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic”, said the Norwegian Ambassador to Uganda, Elin Østebø Johansen.
On her part, UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Elsie Attafuah, highly commended the Norwegian government for the invaluable support and the exceptional leadership of H.E. Elin Østebø Johansen in promoting democratic governance processes and mobilising donor support for the project during this crucial period in the history of the country. She noted that, the Uganda elections support project is part of UNDP’s global mandate to strengthen democracy and governance processes in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular SDG16 on promoting peace, justice and institutional capacity strengthening.
Ms. Attafuah further said UNDP’s electoral support is informed by the understanding that elections are critical building blocks for consolidating democracy, nurturing peace, stability and sustainable development. “This project will seek to build the capacity of key electoral institutions, enhance electoral transparency and promote dialogue to build public and stakeholder confidence in the electoral process”, she pointed out.
The total budget of SEPU is $10.5 million (approximately UGX 39 billion). It will be implemented over a period of two years, spread between 2020 – 2022. Other donors to the SEPU project are Austria, Denmark, Sweden and UNDP, who have collectively pledged an amount of $7 million to the project.
Uganda is expected to hold its 4th general election between 10th January and 8th February 2021.
Background information about the project
In November 2018, the Electoral Commission invited the United Nations to consider supporting the 2020/2021 elections in Uganda. Based on the request, the UN deployed a mission in March 2019 to assess the electoral context in Uganda. The recommendation of the Electoral Needs Assessment Mission was for UNDP to lead the setting up of an integrated electoral assistance project.
The project broadly addresses challenges identified by election observers, analysts, the Judiciary and the Electoral Commission as having adversely affected the quality and credibility of elections in Uganda in the past.
It particularly seeks to strengthen transparency and inclusion in electoral process; enhance institutional capacity for the Electoral Commission and other electoral stakeholders; and improve peacebuilding mechanisms. Furthermore, it seeks to improve transparency and inclusion in the electoral process; promote a level playing field for all electoral contestants; improve public confidence and trust in the Electoral Commission; promote trust between the police and the citizens in relation to election security and specifically regarding the implementation of the laws on political gatherings and campaign meetings. The project also seeks to address the phenomenon of commercialized politics, and the capacity gaps of relevant institutions to prevent and manage election-related violence.
The project will support national partners such as the Electoral Commission, Uganda Police Force, Judiciary, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and National Guidance/the Uganda Media Council and select non-state actors including political parties, media and civil society organizations.
As part of this project, UNDP supported the Electoral Commission to conduct a media campaign to mobilize Ugandans to check their voter registration status and to prepare themselves to participate in the forthcoming elections.
Most recently, UNDP supported the Electoral Commission to organise a stakeholders’ engagement to build consensus on the revised roadmap for the 2020/2021 electoral process. The Electoral Commission had issued a roadmap in 2018 but revised it after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information, please contact:
Michael Mubangizi, Communications Analyst, UNDP Uganda, Tel: 0772147564, Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Tina Holtgaard Oulie, Second Secretary, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Kampala, Tel: 0772 744 203 (WhatsApp), Email address: Tina.Holtgaard.Oulie@mfa.no