Political players and the general public have an opportunity to access user-friendly election Data from a newly developed portal to streamline Uganda’s Electoral Transparency and democratization.
This after the International Republican Institute (IRI) partnered with Sensitize Uganda another civil society organization to develop a digital platform detailing comprehensive analysis of presidential election results since 2006 to the latest 2021 elections.
Chrispin Mutehimbwa, the Executive Director, Sensitize Uganda says that because the Electoral Data available on The Independent Electoral Commission website is not user friendly, the two organizations developed the Uganda Elections Data Portal www.uganda.electionsdata.org for analytical purposes.
Mutehimbwa says that Uganda’s Electoral commission comes second after South Africa’s among the most transparent electoral bodies on the African continent in regards to sharing electoral data.
He adds that the Electoral Commission in Uganda provides all the information that is needed after an election on its website but the challenge is that most Ugandans do not use it for their benefits.
“political parties do not use that information, Civil society do not use that information, also some of the media houses do not use the information, why because sometimes it is presented in complicated formats, like PDF documents which are very heavy and very hard for a lay-person to analyze, so we have developed an electoral data portal so that it simplifies the interpretation and analysis of this election data,” Mutehimbwa
Mutehimbwa further reveals that there discussions are ongoing with the Electoral Commission so that they are able to understand this portal and later adopt it.
“We hope that once the portal is adopted by the Electoral Commission then it is going to add to improving Electoral Transparency in Uganda’ said Mutehimbwa.
Addressing political party players, scholars and the media about the Portal at a breakfast meeting held at Grand Global Hotel, Mable Mugga, the Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Associate at International Republican Institute noted that the portal is to help political players and other stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding governance and democracy.
Mugga says the tool is to enable players to come up with the best way forward to better the electoral processes in the country.
She stresses that the purpose of the tool was to collect all election data sets from 2006 to 2021(when the multiparty political dispensation was reinstated) to enable all stakeholders to use this data.
“Obviously political parties have issues to do with the trust regarding the authentic of the Electoral Commission Data/results but the main issue now since the Data is already published by the Electoral Commission is for the political parties to advocate for things like an election audit,”said Mugga
Mugga further points out that political parties also are advocating for Declaration of Results forms to be scanned and uploaded at the very time the Electoral commission uploads the Electoral Data Sets.
Alex Lwanyaga, the secretary to the Electoral Management Committee at the National Unity Platform (NUP) says that the party is not ready to popularize the portal because the analysis and interpretation is based on fabricated data of the election results.
“The IRI/Sensitize Uganda portal would be okay and would be genuine, if the source and the base where the data has been gotten from was genuine, but because raw data uploaded onto the electoral Commission website is already a duplication of something, we cannot accept because we have already disagreed with the original data so at whatever level and how many times its broken into different stages and portals it’s the same data that is still being disputed.
However the secretary General Uganda Federal Alliance Kennedy Oluma says the portal provides simplified analytical information that can help political parties to reorganize themselves ahead of the 2026 general election.
The Electoral Data Portal is very timely and is very important because we have to track these issues, whenever we go through an election. Many of the political parties in Uganda do not keep these records yet an election is a process. By the time we go to the next election there must be what informs us as political parties and even institutions that are responsible for organizing elections.
Oluma adds that the Electoral Data Portal gives political parties an opportunity to study the trends of voting, behavior of voters and re-strategize accordingly.
He cites an example that most of the presidential candidates tend to draw more support from the regions they come from. Oluma says this points to the fact that candidates have to plan how they can win more support from other regions to supplement what they have from their stronghold.
Allan Mwesigye the Nakawa NRM Youth Lord councilor agrees with Oluma, for instance using the analyzed Electoral Data on the portal, political parties need to start to interrogate why the voter turnout is always high in Kiruhura District and lower in the urban areas like Kampala despite the bigger number of voters registered/population size in these areas.
Mwesigye said the analysis may be indicating that the people in Kampala are scared/intimidated by the continuous chaotic scenes caused by the opposition political parties while the people in Kiruhura are always calmly waiting for the polls in anticipation of showing support to their very own.