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Ministry of ICT Unveils a Voter’s Information Platform, Uchaguzi

Uchaguzi to ensure there is interactivity and ease of access to information on electoral and voter education, as well as provide a civic education platform that will bridge the electoral knowledge gap.

Government Citizen’s Interaction Centre (GCIC) under the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance in collaboration with the Electoral Commission (EC) have today launched a voter’s information platform —Uchaguzi, a mobile and web based application designed to ease access to information on Uganda’s forthcoming 2021 general elections. Uchaguzi is a Swahili word that means election —fulfills the mandate of the ministry in enabling access to information.

Uchaguzi comprises of a website, an application for both Android & iOS and a WhatsApp Chatbot that users can use to access information on presidential candidates, members of parliament and all vital data related to the electoral process. According to Mr. Awel Uwihanganye, who heads GCIC said that the platform will provide “a very unique opportunity to engage with citizens.” He added that all the information on Uchaguzi is sourced from EC. He also emphasized that the platform is not in any way affiliated to any political party or candidate but simply an alternative source of information about for this year’s election.

When asked if the platform is only to be used for this year’s election process, Uwihanganye told reporters that the platform is for this year’s election, however, it will be archived and add more improvements for the next elections. He concludes saying that EC liked the platform and would love to have it stay to bridge the electoral knowledge gap.

Anna Reismann, the country director of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Uganda and South Sudan, says that the Uchaguzi initiative will be vital in creating awareness during the election period.

With the 2021 General Elections due on January 14th, KAS is delighted to have partnered with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance to bring to you the Uchaguzi digital platform that provides the electorate with all the basic information regarding presidential and parliamentary elections. The Uchaguzi website, the Uchaguzi App and the Uchaguzi Chat-bot outline the key policy positions as presented by the different political parties and independent candidates,” Reismann said.

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“They are also a central user-friendly source of accurate, trustworthy, and up-to-date information about the forthcoming general elections amidst a pandemic. The digital tools have been created to bridge the citizen’s electoral knowledge gap, facilitate voter education and provide a platform to engage with key constituents of the electoral process.”

Anna Reismann, the country director of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Uganda and South Sudan, said Uchaguzi initiative will be vital in creating awareness during the election period.

With the 2021 General Elections due on Jan. 14th, KAS is delighted to have partnered with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance to bring to you the Uchaguzi that provides the electorate with all the basic information regarding presidential and parliamentary elections. The Uchaguzi website, the Uchaguzi App and the Uchaguzi Chat-bot outline the key policy positions as presented by the different political parties and independent candidates,” Reismann said.

“They are also a central user-friendly source of accurate, trustworthy, and up-to-date information about the forthcoming general elections amidst a pandemic. The digital tools have been created to bridge the citizen’s electoral knowledge gap, facilitate voter education and provide a platform to engage with key constituents of the electoral process.”

Mr. Mulekwah Leonard, acting secretary of the Electoral Commission said: “The Electoral Commission appreciates the efforts of the GCIC at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, in reinforcing the EC efforts of educating and sensitizing voters ahead of the forthcoming General Elections.”

In this era of pervasive fake news, it is hoped that Uchaguzi will significantly power the process of fighting fake news in the electoral cycle.

“It’s a platform which will synergize facts from credible sources such as the Uganda Electoral Commission and put it in the public domain through the official website, App and WhatsApp chat-bot,” officials said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that it is imperative that we rely only on factually correct and verified information. When facts are incorrect, it leads to panic and takes the form of a vicious cycle. Fake news is an extremely popular tool for propaganda during elections, hence the introduction of Uchaguzi platforms to enable fact checking and providing accurate information to the citizens.”

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