Towards Balancing The Role Of The Uganda Police Force And The Electoral Commission In Electoral Democracy In Uganda

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This paper examines the role of the Uganda Police Force vis-à-vis the role of the Electoral Commission in facilitating electoral democracy in Uganda. It specifically focuses on the forthcoming General Elections slated for 2021. The paper argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted on the manner in which the elections are being conducted. This has been witnessed through the introduction of limitations on the right to freedom of expression and assembly, and the perpetration of police brutality against political candidates and their supporters. The paper attempts to strike a balance between the roles of the Uganda Electoral Commission and the Uganda Police Force in the electoral process. To place this issue in context, the paper examines the past general elections that Uganda has held since it adopted a multiparty political system. It observes that the two institutions play a complementary and mutually reinforcing roles in the electoral process. Nevertheless, the paper observes the need for the two agencies to operate within the legally prescribed parameters in as far as electoral management is concerned. The paper calls for striking of a balance between the roles of the Electoral Commission and those of the Uganda Police Force in electoral management. The paper recommends that the Electoral Commission exerts full control over the management of the electoral process. It urges the Police to adhere to the internationally acceptable policing standards and minimum human rights standards. The paper further calls upon the Police to execute its mandate in an impartial and transparent manner and to ensure a secure environment for all actors involved in the electoral processes