Uganda: Bribery and voters’ register inflation evoked ahead of polls

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Commonwealth Observer Group currently in Uganda will base their findings on the credibility of the electoral process and see whether the elections will be conducted according to the Standards for Democratic Elections to which Uganda is a party.

This decision follows a meeting between opposition politicians and the commonwealth observers’ team during which the former complained that the ruling party in Uganda, led by Incumbent president Museveni, had connived with electoral commission to inflate the East African country’s voters’ register and also was using public funds to bribe voters.

Addressing journalists in Kampala Monday, Commonwealth Observers Group chairperson, Dame Billie Miller said: “We have been approached by opposition complaining about the voters register being inflated. We met officials from Electoral commission and told them about it. They promised to clean it up before the elections on Friday.”

Dame Billie Miller said the observer team, which is also meant to consider whether conditions for free and competitive elections is adhered to, also received reports on bribery. “We have had reports of bribery. We are following it up but it is not easy to prove”. And according to her, the issue of bribery will be focused in the group’s findings.

She however emphasized that people can vote other wise on the voting day despite one’s ability to influence the electorate: ‘”We have been informed that voters in Uganda can accept bribes given to them but vote candidates of their choice”.

Uganda is to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on February 18th. Seven opponents, including one woman, will be running against incumbent president Museveni, who is highly tipped to win by previous three opinion polls which have indicated that he will win by over 60 per cent.

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