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Kabale Political stakeholders blame continued electoral violence on lack of civic education

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By Naboth Isaac Niwagaba

A section of Political stakeholders in Greater Kabale District have blamed the continued violence during elections in Uganda on the lack of enough Civic Education to electorates.

This was revealed today at White Horse Inn, in Kabale Municipality, during a one day dialogue about how to reduce election violence in Uganda, which was organized by the Uganda Radio Network, an online News Agency held. The meeting was attended by members of Civil Society Organizations operating in Greater Kabale, Religious leaders, Security officials, and representatives of political parties, Opinion leaders and members of the local community.

The Programs Manager Joy Child Foundation, Juliet Tushemereirwe and the Director of Let us Save Uganda Simon Byamukama said that aspirants have taken advantage of the illiterate voters to incite violence by spreading harmful propaganda.

They said that it is at the basis of this propaganda that the public reacts violently to the extent of physically attacking security operatives. They said that the Electoral Commission should carry out intensified voter education to reduce electoral violence in the 2021 elections.

The Director Kick Corruption out of Uganda Robert Kakuru Byamugisha, who chaired the meeting, said that if both the electoral commission and other organizations carry out civic education to the community members, this will help to understand the outcomes of involvement in violence.

The Kigezi regional Police Spokesperson Elly Maate said that some people join politics with self centered interests, and it is on the basis of these interests that they incite violence after losing elections. He said the voters should be educated to understand that an Election period should not be a game of life and death, like some politicians describe it.

The Programs Manager Joy Child Foundation Juliet Tushemereirwe said the Political actors  have taken advantage of the uninformed members of the public to incite violence by spreading harmful propaganda. Ms Tushemereirwe said the Electoral Commission should carry out intensified voter education to reduce electoral violence in the 2021 elections.
However, Michael Mbareeba the Rukiga District Youth Councilor said the voters resort to violence after they feel betrayed by the people they elected into power. The aspiring LC.5 Chairperson Rukiga District said the opposition forces were causing anxiety in the already unsatisfied electorate to incite  violence “as a tool of change”. 

The Parish Priest of Kitanga under the Kabale Diocese Rev. Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda said security agencies have the obligation to enforce  the electoral guidelines without discrimination. He said Police was using COVID 19 regulations to disrupt  Campaigns of opposition Presidential candidates. 
Meanwhile, the Director Kick Corruption out of Uganda Byamugisha Robert Kakuru, who chaired the meeting said the dialogue was timely since it provided a platform for different stakeholders to suggest prevention measures against  political violence that is anticipated during the 2021 election. 
At the end of the dialogue, a number of action strategies were agreed upon to be carried out in a move to deter electoral violence in the coming elections. They included Voter education and more inclusive dialogues between government agencies in charge of ensuring that there is a peaceful election and the political actors. 
The media, religious institutions, security and the Electoral commission were tasked to spearhead implementation of the action points agreed upon . A similar meeting was scheduled on the 30th of April 2021 to asses the impact of the strategies put in place .