The Network of Women in Politics (NOWIP) calls upon the Electoral Commission and key stake holders to consider the already burdened women politicians especially the aspiring female candidates as they re- strategize for the upcoming 2021 General Elections. This is not the time to make sharp ended amendments, decisions and guidelines. The population is already burdened with the economic after effects of COVID-19.
We are still coming to terms with the digitized campaigns that are automatically going to eliminate some of us because of the foreseen imbalances in access to media houses and the uncontrolled cyber harassment that goes on around different social media platforms.
To add insult to injury, the NCHE has also hiked the fees for the Academic papers verification exercise from 750,000 UGX to 2,000,000 UGX. Where are we going to get this money in such a short period of time? Most of us have not had any serious economic engagements during this Covid-19 Period, the little savings we had made, have been consumed ,our capital is gone, most of our businesses like saloons and boutiques in arcades are still under lockdown, party primaries are coming soon yet they are also very expensive .if we go in with bear hands we are going to become victims of electoral related sexual violence, the 3m for nomination fee is already a burden yet we have to part with enough money to sustain the digital campaigns.
Think about our fellow women politicians in hard to reach areas and female political aspirants with Disability, how are they going to move long distances in an effort to meet deadlines with these increased transport fares and the ongoing curfew? Let us make this Election free and fair for everyone. Why are we making Democracy too expensive for the most vulnerable?
Some of us are already contemplating on giving up this Election, the stumbling blocks are too many, as we collect ourselves to come to terms with COVID -19 economic after effects, EC comes up with a Digital Campaign proposal, as we are digesting this, something else comes up. Why are you technically eliminating us?
As much as we need to move in line with the Constitution provisions. We call upon the EC and all the key stakeholders in the upcoming 2020/2021 General Elections to wear Gender and Equity lenses as they make key decisions otherwise the country is going to loose formidable and authentic candidates simply because the election is too expensive for an ordinary Ugandan.
There is also need for massive sensitization from the EC about the digitized campaigns, Many Ugandans are confusing the campaigns with the actual election. The public needs to know that it’s only the campaigns that are going to take a digital twist but not the actual Election exercise, we are going to have a good number of election boy courts if this is not clearly explained to the public.
Let us leave no one behind in all electoral processes, engage Women and Youth to help with the sensitization and dissemination of voter civic education, some countries have done this before ,South Korea engaged youth to deliver Election civic education and its one of the best practices they noted for having a successful election in the covid-19 era
NETWORK OF WOMEN IN POLITICS (NOWIP)