By Our Reporter
“I am much honoured and privileged to welcome you all to Police Headquarters for this very special press briefing on Election security and preparedness.
We all know elections, are a cornerstone of our democracy, therefore, safeguarding the integrity of the 2021 general elections is our number one priority. All Ugandans that are participating in the electoral process must rest assured that we will protect and serve them, in a very impartial, fair and transparent manner.
Hon ministers, we started this journey of securing the 2021 Elections, two years back, when we created the Inter-Agency Security Master Plan, working group. It comprised of the Police, UPDF, Prisons Services, JIC etc. This Task Team came up with a Security Master Plan, which met the highest standards of election security, integrity and preparedness.
It has a very robust structure that is integrated with the Electoral Commission, other stakeholders and rolled out to all the District Task Forces. This also indicates the shared commitment that the joint security agencies have with other stakeholders to ensure all Ugandans, vote in a free and fair manner. I do reiterate that we shall deliver a peaceful election to all Ugandans and visitors to our country.
Hon Ministers, our Country has no specific threats at this stage, targeting the elections, but we are aware of some candidates, who even without evidence are already questioning the outcome of the Elections. Therefore, if such candidates lose, some of their supporters who strongly believe in them are planning on holding disruptive and violent demonstrations and riots, civil unrests, and foreign disinformation campaigns. Similarly, some of the radical youth groups are actively involved in intimidation and threatening behavior, to discourage rival voters from participating in the Elections.
In addition, despite the Electoral Commission guidelines on polling day, some candidates are urging their supporters to go in large numbers to monitor the Polling Centres on false claims of Election fraud. There is no evidence of voter fraud, but some politicians are using the propaganda to incite violence based on these false claims.
We have since addressed the security gaps, about what happened during the violent riots and demonstrations. And now have a multilayered security response of patrol groups on foot, motor cycles and patrol vehicles. We have practiced active drills on several scenarios including violent riots, radical youth groups, cyber harassment, clashes between rival groups etc. We have meanwhile been encouraged by a number of stakeholders from religious leaders, musicians, media, security personnel, that have released statements committing and reaffirming peace and safety and further condemned acts of incitement to violence.
We are therefore committed to working collaboratively with other stakeholders to manage all threats and liabilities. This is key to the protection of every person’s right to vote and maintain confidence in a safe, secure and accurate election. Like always, we pledge to remain transparent and vigilant to combat all threats against the electoral events.”