Certainly the United States, as a major donor, and others, seem to have tried hard to persuade Ugandan President Museveni to relinquish his unilaterally appointed electoral commission. An independent electoral commission is to me clearly a necessary pre-condition for a fair electoral process–and we know now that allowing the incumbent president running for re-election to control the electoral commission was the fundamental thing that went wrong in Kenya’s election in late 2007.
A fresh disagreement is creeping between the Electoral Commission and the civil society after the latter said there could be about half a million or more duplicated voters particulars in the national register to be used on Friday. EC officials reportedly first unearthed the ‘ghost’ voters and the Democracy Monitoring Group (Dem-Group) yesterday said the official figure of 13.9 million registered voters is exaggerated. Dem-Group officials, presenting to the EC team their findings following analysis of the national voter’s register, reported wide disparity between the official voter figures and probable adult population based on the 2002 population census.
Nonetheless, the EU, Commonwealth and COMESA observers are proceeding to observe the final stages leading to voting on Friday. If Museveni wins without major violence, then it would seem that he will have successfully bested the “international community” which has made possible much of what he gets credit for in his tenure as president through assistance to his government. One more bad example unless the donors find a will and a way to exact some cost.
See “Uganda goes to the polls in 5 days” at Chris Blattman’s blog, along with “The Africanist” for perspectives on the campaign itself.