Following the 2011 elections in Uganda, citizens demonstrated increased interest in engaging the political process, including by participating in more street-level demonstrations and protests than at any time in recent history.

Uganda National Elections 2016


National Election 2016

As the country prepared for the 2016 general election period, CSOs and political parties continued to advocate for more representative political systems that would allow for enhanced participation and increased accountability.

The Citizens’ Election Observation Network-Uganda (CEON-U), a citizen election observer coalition of local CSOs, monitored the 2016 electoral process in Uganda between September, 2015 and June 2016, covering the pre-election, election day and post-election periods. Overall, few observers reported witnessing or hearing reports of violence against women in the pre-election period. On election day, of the incidents of violence that were reported, observers reported more incidents of violence against voters than against any other group.

CEON-U and the CSO members of the coalition worked to engage citizens at the local level as part of their public outreach, complementing the work CEON-U undertook to monitor the electoral processes.

Before the Election

CEON-U included specific questions about VAW-E in their systematic long term observation in the pre-electoral period of Uganda's 2015 elections.

Over 200 observers were deployed throughout the country, and reported their findings every week for several months, giving a great depth to the data collected. Several specific questions about VAW-E were part of this observation and reporting, including the following: Have you witnessed or heard of hate speech, violence or intimidation against candidates or their supporters because they are women?

CEON also disaggregated other questions about electoral violence by gender. While few observers reported witnessing or hearing reports of violence against poll officials, for example, the reported violent incidents in the pre-election period targeting election officials affected an equal percentage of men and women observers

Election Day

As part of their monitoring efforts, observers monitored reports of attacks on or intimidation of election officials, disaggregating the data by gender.

Observers who were part of CEON's observation on election day observed more incidents of violence against voters than against any other group, although election officials were also a significant portion of victims of observed incidents of violence. Of the types of violent incidents that were observed, there were some differences between whether victims were men, women, or involved victims of both genders. Overwhelmingly, perpetrators of violent incidents were men.

About the Observation

In its pre-election observation, CEON-U deployed 223 long-term observers in all 112 districts of Uganda. These observers reported every week for several months, giving a wide span of longitudinal data. In total, CEON-U deployed 900 observers, with 700 participating in the election day observation.

NDI Gender, Women and Democracy logo

Electoral violence undermines democratic elections, which are a cornerstone of democratic governance. Violence against women in elections is a particular form of electoral violence, motivated by a desire to prevent women from participating in the electoral process, which sees women attacked for daring to participate in elections. Learn More About Votes Without Violence