Ahead of the 2021 General Elections in Uganda on 14 January, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, has called on all Ugandans, in particular political leaders, to uphold Uganda and the Commonwealth’s shared values of peace, tolerance and inclusivity.
Speaking ahead of the elections the Commonwealth Secretary-General said:
“On behalf of the Commonwealth, I encourage all political parties, their supporters and security agencies to shun violence, to expend all efforts to promote peaceful participation in the democratic process, and to ensure that the rule of law, justice and accountability prevails.
“All citizens should be allowed to exercise their right to vote free from fear and intimidation, and in order to maintain the people of Uganda’s confidence in democracy the principles of inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability should be respected and upheld, consistent with principles of the Commonwealth Charter.
“I have conveyed to the leadership of Uganda the Commonwealth family’s deep concern about reports of constraints on freedom of assembly, intimidation, violence and election-related deaths in the country. And I wish to extend our sympathies to the victims and their families.
“I strongly urge that these allegations are expeditiously and transparently investigated and would also encourage that any disputes be resolved through peaceful means and the prescribed legal channels.”
The Secretary General added:
“Uganda is an important voice in the region and in the Commonwealth. When Uganda hosted the 2007 Kampala CHOGM, it led on the issuing of the Munyonyo Statement on Respect and Understanding, and the endorsement of the Commonwealth’s ‘Civil Paths to Peace’ Report, which seeks to build tolerance, respect for diversity and inclusivity in society.
“The Commonwealth has accompanied Uganda on its path of development and democracy since it joined in 1962. The Commonwealth family reaffirms its unwavering solidarity and support to all Ugandans and wishes the country peaceful and credible elections.”
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal sovereign states. Our combined population is 2.4 billion, of which more than 60 per cent is aged 29 or under.
The Commonwealth spans the globe and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. Thirty-two of our members are small states, many of which are island nations.
The Commonwealth Secretariat supports member countries to build democratic and inclusive institutions, strengthen governance and promote justice and human rights. Our work helps to grow economies and boost trade, deliver national resilience, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt and inequality.
Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations.