The Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Uganda, Ambassador Atillio Pacifici, has said they are impressed with the level of organisation and peaceful conduct exhibited during the presidential and parliamentary polls held on Thursday.
“We saw an extremely well-organised election exercise with people very orderly waiting to cast their votes and everything went on very peacefully. We are very impressed…the (Electoral Commission) presiding officers were very professional,” Ambassador Pacifici said.
The EU delegation chief made the remarks Friday while speaking to journalists at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds where the EC tally centre for collating parliamentary election results for Kampala’s five divisions has been set up.
“It is very impressive that there are so many young, well-educated Ugandans [involved in the electoral process],” he added during their impromptu visit to the tally centre.
However, the EU delegation in Uganda said the envoy's remarks were "taken out of context" and as a result "give a misleading view".
It noted that, "The EU has not deployed an Electoral Observation Mission to Uganda and has not made an assessment of the way the polling day has been run."
It did not elaborate.
The EU has this time not deployed election monitors, as it has traditionally done, in part because the government of Uganda has not implemented a raft of recommendations that the EU election Observers have made during the past polls.
Instead, the EU has sent what it calls a diplomatic watch – a team of diplomatic staff from various embassies of the bloc member countries – to just see what transpires.
This team does not give an observation report.
Unlike professional election observers, the diplomatic watch members will not issue formal election observation mission reports or make specific recommendations.
The EU has assembled 63 staff divided into 17 groups to traverse parts of the country to informally observe compliance with electoral processes and procedures. They are expected to file reports for internal use by the EU.
Among the places that the diplomatic watch team has visited are Mbale, Moroto, Arua, Lira and Rukungiri.
Except for sporadic localised clashes among supporters of rival political camps and arrests, including of 30 civil society observers, police and EC reported that Thursday’s vote was generally peaceful.
The results for parliamentary elections are being declared progressively at districts while the EC national tally centre in Kyambogo, Kampala, is announcing provisional cumulative results for presidential candidates and is expected to declare a winner by 4pm Saturday.