Kampala, 3 March 2006
In our Interim Statement on 24 February we withheld our final assessments of the poll, count and results phase of these elections and of the electoral process as a whole. We are now in a position to provide both, since we have finished observing and have had the time to consider the various factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole.
Having now completed our observation of the results process we believe that the poll, count and results process provided conditions which enabled the will of the people to be expressed. We further believe that the results of the elections reflected the wishes of those who were able to vote. There were some serious irregularities and significant shortcomings and there is scope for substantial improvement. Nevertheless, we commend the effort made by the Electoral Commission and the determination of the people of Uganda to exercise their democratic rights.
So far as the electoral process as a whole is concerned, it is clear that the environment in which the elections were held had several negative features which meant that the candidates were not competing on a level playing field:
These elections represent a significant step forward. They are an important part of the transition from a single-party system to a multi-party democracy. That transition is by no means complete.
We leave Kampala today, having completed our report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General. We wish Uganda well as it seeks to embrace a new multi-party system and works to remove the single-party culture. We urge the Commonwealth to work in partnership with the government and people of Uganda to those ends.