ACDEG to promote violence free elections

By Deo Wasswa

The Bugiri Municipality area representative in parliament Asuman Basalirwa has observed the need to popularize the African Charter on democracy, elections, and good governance (ACDEG) to promote violence free elections.

According to Basalirwa, this charter is popular amongst the elite members of political parties and organizations. He therefore encourages organisations that advocate for democracy and fair elections to give the charter enough publicity.

He sounded this call during the election and good governance symposium organized by Action Aid Uganda under the theme, "the role of political parties in building a strong democracy in Uganda."

Basalirwa noted that the campaign should engage the key stakeholders such as the speaker of parliament, the leader of opposition, the leader of government business so that there is pressure around the government to have the charter ratified.

Nickson Ogwal, director for policy and programs at Action Aid Uganda during the symposium emphasized the need to domesticate the African charter on democracy, elections, and good governance into a local law.

"The principals in the charter are so ideal in promoting respect for each other, no use of violence, putting the citizens at the center of building the political parties. We are currently not seeing this happen; political parties are owned by individuals and whose descisions are final, contrary to the democratic principles in the ACDEG." Nickson said.

The ACDEG was adopted on 30 January 2007 as the AU's main normative instrument to set standards for better governance across the continent. It came into force in February 2012 after ratification by 15 states. As of January 2019, the charter had been ratified by 32 and signed by 46 of the 55 AU member states.