Tuesday 16 February 2016

ToroDev M&E Officer attends a one day Regional stakeholder’s workshop on polling activities for 2016 general elections

The workshop was organized by the electoral commission Kabarole district, it was held on 9th/ February 2016 at St Joseph inn Virika. It was attended by Regional Police Commanders, District from the 7 districts, Police commanders from 7 districts, political party representatives; district officials District Resident officer, the CAO, civil society organizations, press, electoral commission staff and local citizens. The main objective of workshop was to take the participants through the polling activities for 2016 general elections (how the elections will take place, what role will police, civil society organizations play, the role of press and how to have a peaceful general election etc).  
On general elections will be held in Uganda on 18 February 2016 which is a national holiday for voting. The elections are to be supervised by the Electoral commission of Uganda. In the election the voters will vote for the President, Parliament seats and local government seats”. Said Mr Kanzira the head of electoral commission Kabarole District

Mr. Kanzira talking to participants during the workshop
Mr. Kanzira added Chapter 142 of the Presidential Elections Act of 2000 of Uganda stipulates the following qualifications for a person to be elected as President:
a) A citizen of Uganda by birth
b) Not less than thirty-five years and not more than seventy-five years of age
c) A person qualified to be a Member of Parliament. Their qualifications include:
I) Is a registered voter
II) Has completed a minimum formal education of Advanced Level standard or its equivalent

Voter Location Slips.
In accordance with Section 33 (1) and (2) of the Electoral Commission Act (Cap 140), the Commission shall, by notice in the Gazette, appoint a Returning Officer for each electoral district who shall take steps to inform voters as early as possible of the particular polling stations at which they are required to vote and also that the circumstances should be such as to guarantee orderly voting without confusion.
In view of the above, the Commission has introduced a Voter Location Slip (VLS) to inform and guide voters to their respective Polling Stations. The Commission will, therefore, issue directly to each voter a Voter Location Slip (VLS).
The VLS will, among others, be used as a first step for identification of voters on Polling Day. It will be used at four rounds of elections during the General Elections (2016) namely; at the Presidential/Parliamentary, District Chairpersons’, Sub-county Chairpersons’ and Municipal Division Chairpersons’ and Councilors elections.

Who will be issued a voter location slip (vls)?
A person whose particulars appear on the Polling Day register will be issued a VLS. The voters’ register is the primary document for the purpose of polling. A voter whose name is on the register but is unable to produce a VLS on Polling Day will be allowed to vote”. Kugonza Enock electoral commission Kabarole District
Enock added procedure for issuing voter location slips (VLSS) include. The Parish Supervisors (also known as VLS Issuing Officers) shall be briefed by, and receive instructions from, their respective District Returning Officers on the VLS issuance programme. Issuance of VLSs shall be done at the Parish level for a period of fourteen [14] days; commencing Monday 1st February 2016 and ending Sunday 14th February 2016”.

No person shall be allowed to collect or receive a VLS on behalf of another voter. At the end of each day, all unissued VLSs shall be properly secured in their packs for the next day’s issuance or retrieval. At the end of the entire exercise, all the VLSs which will not have been issued MUST be properly packed and delivered to the Sub-County supervisor for onward transmission to the returning officer. Said Hamidu of electoral commission, Kabarole District 

Biometric voter verification system
The biometric voter verification system, the aim of the system is to strengthen the identification of voters through biometrics so that no one votes more than once in particular election. We have trained on how to use the machine and we have trained other returning officers on how they will use the machine, we are glad that you have got the opportunity to see this technology during this workshop”. Said the technical officer Kabarole District

The Biometric voter verification system
The roles of the supervisors

The Returning Officer/District Registrar and the Sub-County Supervisor shall supervise the issuance of the VLSs in the entire district and in the Sub-county respectively.

The roles of political party or candidates’ agents and accredited
  1. A political party/candidate may appoint his/her agent(s) to observe the issuance of the VLSs in accordance with the law.
  2. Local, National and International observers that have been duly accredited by the Commission may observe the issuance of the VLSs exercise in accordance with the Observers Code of Conduct.
 Acts and offenses committed during the issuance of the VLSS
  1. Use of violence or threats against officials, supervisors or the electorate during issuance of the VLSs is an offence.
  2. Deliberate disruption or interference with the work of the issuance of the Voting Location Slips officials is an offence.
  3. Any person other than a designated official acting on behalf of the Returning Officer who directs or orders the VLS Issuing Officers in the execution of their duties commits an offense.
  4. Any VLS Issuance Officer who attempts to solicit money, gifts or favours from VLS recipients commits an offence.
  5. Any person who attempts to lure a VLS Issuance Officer with money or gifts in order to secure his/her or another person’s VLS commits an offence.
ToroDev is supporting the electoral commission by giving the officers platforms on radio to educate voters on how the elections will happen, the time, the requirements and promoting free and fair election. Torodev is broadcasting skits carrying civic education on the three sponsored radio talkshows to encourage people to vote, keep peace and know their rights and also encouraging women to be part of voting exercise.   

For all the skits carrying information on civic education  that are broadcasted on the three radio stations, we are grateful to our donors, NED, SIDA, SPIDER, WOUGNET, ICT4dem , Hits Fm, KRC, Jubilee FM

Education is very important and more needs to be done to have Quality education

The Sustainable Development goals follow the Millennium Development Goals. They have been developed and determined by the UN member states & were launched in November 2015 and are set to be reached by 2030One of the goals is quality education. 

Torodev focuses on ICT for improved education as one of the core areas. Education sector is one of the areas that need much attention here in Uganda especially in government schools since they face different challenges, like poor infrastructure, lack of libraries, shortage of trained teachers, high number of pupils , lack of pit latrines etc that leads to poor performance.

Pupils at school

On 6th February 2016 the district education officer of Kabarole, Mr. Rwakaikara Patrick, Ms Mpairwe Night Karungi the head teacher of Kyebambe girls school and Rev. Richardson Balinda the deputy head teacher of Kyebambe girl’s school appeared live on the ToroDev sponsored radio talk show ‘Orukurato’that is aired live every Saturday 8:00pm-10:00pm to talk about the relevancy of education in Uganda and what can be done to improve performance.

The panelists of the talksshow tried to analyze and compare the performance at PLE level in the district where they showed a reduction of first grades from 12000 pupils passing in first grade in 2014 to 738 in 2015. A total number of 4331 pupils in 2015 passed in second grade, 800 in third grade, 300 in fourth grade & 200 failed.

 “Sometimes students do not get focused and develop negative attitude towards some subjects like sciences. Parents role is still missing citing an example of parents who do not pay fees for their children in time, not bothered to visit them at school & also talking to them on the effects of early relationships while still schooling”. Said Ms Mpairwe Night Karungi, the head teacher of Kyebambe girls during the radio talkshow

Girls need to be talked to at school and at home by their parents
Parents need to support teachers because sometimes students’ performance is affected by domestic violence in our homes. I advise all  stakeholders in education to emphasize on carrier guidance for students, support lifelong learning skills, have mind set change for both teachers & students, initiate self-customized school appraisal forms for teachers and encourage the schools to have the vision, mission & objectives for those without for the school to have direction”. Rev. Richardson Balinda the deputy head teacher of Kyebambe girl’s school.

I urge all partners in education sector to work together in addressing the challenges affecting education in the district & region as a whole that include; administration where there should be transparency by teachers, monitoring, coordination, syllabus coverage, enforcing discipline, research & planning and also considering the quality of students admitted in schools, if these challenges are not addressed, the outcome may not be impressive at all”, said Mr. Rwakaikara, the DEO Kabarole District.

What is your dream, your aim in life? Do you want to become rich?  Do you want to be popular? Do you want to be an extremely successful person who is respected by people? Well, the key to all this is education. Of course there are exceptions, like sportsmen who don’t really owe their success to their education. However in most cases, your degree is what helps you realize all your dreams.  Said Rev. Richardson Balinda the deputy head teacher of Kyebambe girl’s school during the radio talkshow on Hits Fm.

Richardson added education majorly affects our understanding of the difference between right and wrong. An educated person is well aware of the consequences of wrong/illegal actions and he is less likely to get influenced and do something which is not legally/morally right. Also, a  number of uneducated people who live a poverty stricken life owning to lack of opportunities often turn to illegal ways such as theft and robbery to solve their problems. If you are educated, you are well aware of your rights, the law and your responsibilities towards the society. Hence, education is an important factor which contributes in social harmony and peace.

“Improved education contributes to a happy and stable life. If you want to lead a happy life and enjoy the good things the world has to offer, you certainly need to get educated. A great job, a good social reputation are few of the many benefits of being an educated person. Education is a must for a promising and secure future and a stable life”. Said Mr. Rwakaikara Patrick the district education officer Kabarole district during the radio talkshow on Hits Fm

Patrick added an educated person has more chances of landing up a good high paying job. Everybody wants a good life but the good life! It may be called as the “root of all evil” but most people will agree that money is important for survival in today’s world. The more educated you are, the better career options you have!
If we want to see the world as a just and fair place where everyone is given equal opportunities, education is what we require. Education is a must if we want to do away with the existing differences between different social classes and genders.  It opens a whole world of opportunities for the poor so that they may have an equal shot at well-paying jobs. Education also plays a major role in women empowerment”. Said Ms Mpairwe Night Karungi, the headtaecher of Kyebambe girls school
Ms Night added education is very important if you want to be a self-dependent person. It helps you become financially independent but that is not all.  Education also makes you wiser so that you can make your own decision so more need to be done to achieve this.

The two hours talkshows ended with a note of thanks from DEO Kabarole District thanking ToroDev for the support and contribution towards improving education in Western Uganda.

To all our partners and funders NED, SIDA, SPIDER, DRT, WOUGNET, ICT4Dem and HITS Fm  thank you so much for supporting ToroDev activities.  

Wednesday 10 February 2016

ToroDev & Governance Cluster Partners organize a political debate

Participating in election process is exercising ones democratic right. In all elections, there ought to be legitimacy and integrity especially with in the electoral processes of that particular country. 
When electorates do not take time to seize their leaders especially before voting them into elective offices they might be challenged more so when that leader does not address the needs of his/her electorates. It is therefore; vital that before electing your leader you get chance to hear what plans he/she is having for your community so that your vote can benefit you in terms of improved service delivery.

 ToroDev in partnership with other governance cluster of Rwenzori region are organizing a candidates’ debate slated for February 12, 2016 at Kagote SDA hall in Fort Portal where Members of parliament contesting for the Fort Portal municipality seat and women candidates for the Kabarole district will share their manifestos with the citizens.

It is your right to vote
Candidates will be required to present their leadership credentials and commitments to issues of regional & national importance including; legislation, representation, appropriation, budgeting & lobbying vis-viz governance.

The debate is aimed at candidates explaining to the voters their development agenda/manifestos, providing a platform to citizens & leaders to engage on political, development & social economic issues and also giving opportunity to the electorate to understand their candidates fully hence making an informed decision when it comes to voting for their choice of candidate(s).

We are thankful to all our partners.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Civic education Skits have increased participation of listeners on radios

 Elections are part of the democratization process and the ability to participate in free and fair elections is one of the ways we express our democracy. Citizens can appreciate electoral processes if legitimacy as a foundation of democratic process is realized for it promotes integrity.

Your vote has power....
As we get close to elections as a country, ToroDev has organized a number of messages through civic education skits to both political aspirants & voters on information about the roles of different political aspirants, information on multiparty system of governance, effects of voter bribery, power of citizens/voters, messages encouraging peace before & after voting, etc as a way of educating the electorates so that they are able to make an informed decision when it comes to voting for their individual candidates. This is done in order to clear the doubt that citizens may have on the efficiency of the electoral processes which eventually may call for dispute of election results and loss of public resources in case of luck of satisfaction.
The recorded skits are played on the ToroDev sponsored talkshows and listeners are given enough time to participate by calling-inn or using sms platforms especially facebook to participate by giving out their contribution/ideas being guided by a moderator from the radio station.

For example on Jubilee radio on 31st, January, 2016 we realized an increased participation of about 30 people calling in live and about 15 people sending inn messages via facebook page from about 15 people who would call inn before the skits.

The skits are aired out 30 minutes every Sunday on Jubilee radio 8:00-10pm and is moderated by Mr. Mukonyezi Winfred Abooki

Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred Abooki, Moderator of Listeners forum Talk show on Jubilee radio 
‘’There are candidates giving voters money for exchange of a voter but I encourage my fellow women to vote for candidates with manifestos that have our community needs that will lead our communities/country to improved service delivery’’, said Ms Nabulya Caroline a caller from Kyenjojo district, ‘’It is as if we lost our votes in the last five years because at community level our leaders have not done what they promised when they were looking for votes, I urge all voters especially women to realize the power their votes have & use their vote to elect leaders with ideas so that we do not regret after the five (5) years term they will serve’’, said Mrs Tumuhairwe Oliver a caller from Mugusu Sub county in Kabarole district, ‘’ It is a bad practice for candidates to bribe voters with money because it indicates that they will not work for us instead they will be in those offices to look for their money back’’, said Mr. Tofa a caller from Kyegegwa district, ‘’receiving money in exchange for a vote is selling ones country, we should coordinate and work together in order to yield results by voting capable leaders for our constituencies’’, said Mrs Atuhairwe a caller from Kabarole district, ‘’people need enough time for civic education before elections especially to know the power of their votes and the roles of different political aspirants right from national level to local levels’’, said Mr. Chance Reuben through a facebook sms.

We are grateful to our partners; SIDA, SPIDER, NED DRT, ICT4DEM & WOUGNET for the technical and financial support.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Civic education skits played on ToroDev Sponsored three radio talk shows

The civic education skits are played  on ToroDev’ three supported programs, Orukurato’ on Hits FM, Listener’ forum on Jubilee radio and Manya Abugabe Bwawe on KRC FM and listeners participate through calling in and SMS sharing the Information learnt from the skit.

The moderator guides the discussion by showing the need for such skits which have educative information on people’ rights, political parties, Voters rights, importance of participating in voting exercises. “As per now voters are viewing the applications of candidates and it is upon them to make informed decisions having got a chance to listen to such programs on different radio stations, they can make an informed discussion and vote wisely”. Said Mr. Kasigazi Donanto the moderator of ‘Orukurato’ program at Hits fm.

                                                         It's your right to vote

The skit runs for 25 minutes and the other hours are given to the callers to share what they have learnt from the skits.

 ‘’We should stop campaigns based on tribes, religion and other sectarian backgrounds because they will not build our nation and communities’’. Said Daniel a caller from Harugongo in Kabarole district,

‘’We need to vote candidates with manifestos that touch the needs of community members like health, education, roads, etc other than voting based on tiny gifts given by candidates’’. Said Abdullah, a caller from Kyegegwa district,
‘’ The skits of this type  is helping  voters  especially in villages to know what is  required before voting, its guiding people to know their rights and to be part of the voting , we thank ToroDev for the work well done on educating us on things to do with elections’’. Said Joyce Kamanyire, a caller from Kagote in Kabarole district,


                                                 Participate in Voting for your  right leader

‘’The ballot is done by  secret and I advise people creating violence in  their homes and villages  to stop doing that , especially those  supporting different candidates, keeping silent is the best option because   when it comes to election day  you vote alones’’. Said Hon. Kabobo a caller from Kamwenge district.
“There is life after elections so peace is needed before and after election, I urgue everyone to vote and keep peace”.  Said Mukonyezi Winfred the moderator of Listeners forum talk show on Jubilee Fm

 For all the three talkshows a total number of 75 people both male and female called in and around 15 people sent sms on Hits FM.  .

We are grateful to our partners SIDA, SPIDER, NED, DRT, ICT4DEM & WOUGNET, for the financial & technical support.