Uganda Electoral Commission under pressure over 20K “ghost voters”

12 02 2016

A recent data analysis that found discrepancies in the Uganda Electoral Commission voter count has put some voters on high alert, and consequently increased the anxiety about the upcoming presidential elections.

The data on Electoral Commission (EC) had indicated that there are 15,297,197 registered voters in Uganda. On the contrary, an independent data analysis found a 20,000 voter error margin. Here is another blog showing how we exposed the discrepancies and TMS Ruge’s breakdown of the data.

The Electoral Commission was notified about the discrepancies immediately. Instead of giving a detailed account of what happened, the commission made demeaning remarks – arguing that the analysis was baseless.

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But this was not good enough for the Ugandans who were eager to know what was going on.  They continued to pressure the EC through its official Twitter account, demanding that the issue should be taken seriously. In the meantime, media houses started reporting on this issue – pressure was mounting on the commission.

The Spokes person of the commission, Jotham Taremwa finally agreed – that this was a “statistical error”.

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WHAT THE DATA ANALYSIS REVEALED:

Analysis of voter data per polling station revealed that some polling stations had way more (some over 400) voters than they should have while others had way less.

At Nkokonjeru Primary School, a polling station in Ruharo Parish, Mbarara District; the Electoral Commission data shows that there are 436 Female Voters and 359 Male Voters – the total voter count (Female + Male) =387. Once we analyzed the data, we found that 408 voters were not accounted for.

At Nyamitanga Muslim Pri Sch, in Katete Parish, Mbarara District; the data indicated that there are 247 Female Voters and 202 Male Voters – the total voter count according to the commission = 900. Our analysis found that this was NOT correct.

Ghost Voter-Mbarara

Overall I personally came to the conclusion that there are probably not just 20,000 ghost voters but many more. If the Electoral Commission indicates that there are 387 voters at a given polling station and yet when I add number of Female (436) + (359) Male voters at the same polling station I get 795 I cannot help but wonder where the commission put the missing 408.

This morning (11, February), the commission quietly took down its website and removed the document we analyzed and replaced it with a new document with changes that seem to address the concerns we had. Well, some tweeps noticed that the website was down, which forced the EC to make this lame excuse.

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FAST FORWARD

With just 5 days to the polls I am not convinced that the commission is prepared to handle emerging issues especially when they involve discrepancies.

If the commission failed to compute the sum of a couple of hundreds (as indicated above), how can they convince Ugandans that they are ready to tally millions of votes from over 28,010 polling stations country wide?

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EC went into a coma after we published a simple analysis of data they should have crosschecked and rechecked many months and weeks ago. If anything, this shows how unprepared the commission is.

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Even though the commission has finally realized that our analysis was NOT baseless (as it originally claimed) – seeing that EC has updated its data to match our figures, the manner in which they did it is unacceptable. With no explanation to the public. What is even worse, in the latest version of data, EC has eliminated the columns showing the number of Male and Female voters per polling station leaving just the total voter count per polling station.

Taking away the demographics makes it impossible for us or anyone else to do further analysis – and that is probably what the EC wants. But, this does not mean that there are no more loopholes in the voter registers.

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“Luckily”, the EC has procured handheld Biometric Voter Verification Systems and they are expected to catch any anomalies the commission might have missed. But, I have a feeling that at many of the polling stations, especially the rural ones (which are the majority in number), they will have to rely on the paper based register – because (sometimes) technology fails.

For now, I will keep crunching the voter register data as I anxiously await for the EC to deliver its promise of a “free and fair election”!





You shared Luzinda’s nude photos? STOP FORWARDING VIOLENCE!

5 11 2014

Desire Luzinda’s nude photos are making a wave on the internet – thanks to Ugandans who have made it their business to not only share the photos widely but also to ‘play Luzinda’ in the photos. What is rather appalling is the fact that many parents (or people) have made their children mimic these poses.

Desire is a really good singer. However, I had never imagined writing a blog about her. Her life, (turbulent as it is) is her personal business. Yet, seeing people go gaga over nude photos makes it my business to say a few things:

What have we learned about Ugandans who have gone gaga over those nude photos?

  1. They are immoral people. We claim to be a country of high morality and yet our actions do not depict that so much. Seeing how much people are talking about Luzinda’s nude pictures in the past few days is proof that many Ugandans are always looking for an excuse to publicly share pornography.
  2. They are violent people. Nude pictures leak all the time. But, the Nigerian man who leaked those photos wanted to humiliate Luzinda. When you make it your personal business to share those pictures publicly, you strip her of the (little) dignity (left).
  3. They do not know the difference between what is cool and what is stupid. I have seen a bunch of men doing the so-called “luzfie” pose and shared photos on Facebook and Whatsapp – that is NOT cool, it is stupid.
  4. They are shallow minded people with lots of time to kill. Someone has printed t-shirts with stick figures mimicking a pose in the nude pictures. While this is a business idea, its not appropriate. Use something more culturally appropriate, something that does not offend a woman!

What is rather more disappointing is the Minister, Lokodo who wants Desire Luzinda (who by the way is the victim) arrested over violation of the Anti-Pornography Act. This Minister who probably knows nothing about Facebook said “you can imagine how she exposed pictures on Facebook, she should be locked up and isolated” – Daily Monitor. Lokodo is not any different from those hooligans who blame a victim instead of helping them to solve the problem at hand (which to me is thousands of Ugandans: (a) exposing children to pornography,  (b) stripping a woman of her dignity).

I was against the Anti-Pornography Bill before it was enacted because some of the clauses are aimed at censoring the media and freedom of expression. However, now that it is a law, perhaps it should be used to punish the people who are sharing these nude pictures – starting with the man who leaked them. Hopefully the parents or adults who got children to mimic the nude poses will get a life sentence.

Apparently the Nigerian man who leaked the nude photos holds a Ugandan passport. I am not surprised that many Ugandans ignored the fact that many Ugandans struggle to get a Ugandan passport and yet many foreigners hold Ugandan passports.

I can only relate this hooliganism to sadists who undress women claiming that they are wearing “mini-skirts”. Just like those sadists, you don’t care about dignity of women, you just want to strip them naked and laugh about it.

Perhaps you are wondering why Desire agreed to take those photos if she did not want them shared publicly? Well, even someone who has never taken a nude picture would know that you don’t want it on Facebook and the only person who has the moral right to share it is you – no one else.

When you forward/ share a picture of a naked woman (or man) on the internet, you are forwarding violence. Violence against women is not cool, it is a crime! Stop forwarding the violence.

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Anti-Pornography Bill – the hidden agenda: READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

9 04 2013

The talk on social networks in Uganda is now focusing on the Mini-Skirt. Many of my friends both male and female have posed the question: “What is a mini skirt?” Or what makes a skirt “mini”?

I would be arrested for posting such a photo!

I would be arrested for posting this photo and you would be arrested for viewing it!

The talk about the mini-skirts bill followed Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister, who said that ‘Any attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function, are outlawed. Anything above the knee is outlawed. If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her.’

The minister’s statements are further emphasized in the proposed Anti-Pornography Bill. A hard copy of the bill continues to be circulated on the internet but not many people will read it. There are mixed reactions over the bill among Ugandans. According to the media, the bill seeks to ban mini-skirts which is unacceptable to majority of the young ladies and yet a recent radio-poll survey shows support from Northern Uganda supports the mini-skirt ban.

Yesterday night I had the opportunity to review and interpret the bill together with Rosebell (a journalist) and Peter (a lawyer). Our interest in reviewing the bill was to inform ourselves on the content of the bill in order to share with fellow Ugandans especially those using social media.

After reading the bill it was simple for the three of us to come to a common conclusion. That this bill is nothing but another tactic for the government to continue trolling on people’s human rights and most importantly access to information.

Even though the bill seeks to address key issues such as child pornography, the bill does not respect culture, the media and most importantly people’s freedom to conduct business and access information.

According to the bill, “a person shall now produce, or traffic in, publish, broadcast, procure, import, export or abet any form of pornography.” Any one who does this commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding UGX 10,000,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both.

redpepper

RedPepper is a national tabloid that is known for printing and reporting on what some people would call sexually explicit content. Now, millions of people buy this paper from hundreds of vendors around the country. This means that the author, editor, vendor and reader of RedPepper could (and will) be among the victims of this bill.

Maybe RedPepper deserves that. The minister also said that, “television should not broadcast a sexy person”. If you like Iryn Namubiru’s music videos, Juliana, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and the like, if this bill is passed into a law you will never see such videos on your TV sets ever again!

And for you social media junkies who like to party and share your photos on Facebook, be aware that this bill seeks not only to regulate what you post or read on the internet. The bill seeks to install software that will monitor your internet activity. Internet service providers have been tasked to monitor every single user and report those who produce, share or view pornography.

Question remains, what is pornographic (content) to you? If a Muganda went to Karamoja I am sure they would be offended when they see the Karamajong walking with their behinds exposed. But this is part of the Karamajong culture, and part of how they dress, behave and dance defines who they are!
This afternoon Rosebell, Peter and I are hosting a tweetup to discuss the Anti-Pornography Bill. Details of the event – https://www.facebook.com/events/147949672045789/

Download the Bill here: – Anti Pornography bill 2011

Also follow #AntiPornBillUg, #SaveTheMiniSkirts and #SaveMiniSkirt on Twitter





The role of media in igniting or ending crisis: #KenyaDecides

4 03 2013

Yesterday I went to the cinema with my friend Rosebell hoping to catch a good action or comedy movie. As soon as we got there we realized we had to choose between watching Django Unrated and Ni Sisi, a Kenyan movie.

It had never crossed my mind that I would go to the cinema to watch a Kenyan movie! We decided to watch Ni Sisi because we were aware that Kenya was barely 20 hours away from the hotly contested presidential polls.

Ni Sisi is a Swahili word that means, “It is us”. The movie features three women – a pastor, a market vendor and a hairdresser. It revolves around the life of these women, their children and an aspiring member of parliament – Mzito.

Jabali, the main character is a son of Nene, the pastor. Mzito is used Jebali’s mother to spread rumours and hate, and together they almost destroyed the village community.

One night Jebali had a dream, in the dream the election romours caused unrest in the village. Men with machetes killed people and burned houses. Jebali’s own cousin Roxana and aunt Zippy were among the dozens of victims.

Like in many superhero movies, Jebali was frightened as he shared the dream with his mother and relatives. His family did not take his dream seriously but with Roxana’s support the duo excavated the dream to end the rumours and calm the situation.

Jebali confronted Mzito on one of his campaign rallies in Nene’s church and accused him of spreading false rumours. This inspired other people to speak up against this politician.

Kenya-election

Ni Sisi is just one of the hundreds of civic education campaigns and its aim is to promote peace and a unified Kenyan identity in preparation for the 2013 elections.

In 2007 when the results of the presidential elections were announced, there was a rumour that the vote was rigged. A few days later violence engulfed Kenya; over 1,100 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced. The biggest fear as the Kenyans went to vote today was that there would be a repeat of the 2007 events.

As the poll day drew closer tension started mounting again. The talk about the events that happened in 2007 started surfacing again. The New Vision’s cover page yesterday had a headline “Kenyans flee to Uganda ahead of the vote!”.

Today as the Kenyans went to vote there was a lot of uncertainty. The morning started off with sad news; men with machetes attacked and killed four police officers in the coastal town of Mombasa.

Kenyan citizens are using social media to tweet and retweet instant updates as the polls take course to keep the rest of the world updated. This morning I added my own voice to the millions of tweets to wish my Kenyan friends peace.

This is the major reason why some people urge that citizen journalism is killing traditional journalism. But the way new media works is it gives anyone freedom to take control of it and share their opinion fast and wide.

Media reports about the election process in Kenya can easily influence people’s reaction or even mislead them. I know that the media has the right to operate freely but it must operate in an ethical way. Understanding and respecting the aspect of culture is very important and it helps NOT to speak too fast.

Foreign media houses such as CNN have a record of making their stories “sexy” for their international audience. One of their stories in 2012 angered Kenyans when CNN interpreted grenade attacks in Nairobi as “Violence in Kenya”. Thanks to social media the Kenyans quickly hit back at CNN forcing CNN to take the story down and immediately apologize.

Ni Si Si got me thinking deeply about the people of Kenya, my friends who live and work there. It also got me thinking about what peace in Kenya means to countries like Uganda and Rwanda that depend on Kenya’s Mombasa port for most of their consignments.  In 2007 Uganda suffered the biggest fuel shortage ever. Fuel prices skyrocketed in a matter of hours and in a couple of days the transportation system was almost crippled.

My tweet of the day came from Calestous Juma ‏@calestous  “BREAKING NEWS: Foreign reporters clash in #Kenya amid growing scarcity of bad news. #kenyadecides

I believe that from the civic education campaigns Kenyans have learnt how to handle and validate information. One thing true, Kenyans have learnt how to use social media to tell their own stories. No wonder Nairobi is one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the world.

For now we do not know what will come out of the elections but we know that the election process has been by far too good. And I can tell you this because I know that in Uganda it doesn’t get better than this either.

I hope that the process ends peacefully and that the people of Kenya continue to stand together and pray for peace for their great nation.

Question remains, has the media learnt a lesson from the previous events?





Internet connectivity & Landlocked Countries: Counting on Marine Cables

26 02 2012

Saturday morning, I am all in my working mood, I plug my 3G modem into my computer and booom – internet is NOT working!! Usually when my internet fails I trying to fix it. I try to fix my own internet because I don’t like wasting my time calling customer support – who often doesn’t even know how to help! After over 14hours of trying my service provider sends me a text message:

Over 36 hours of limited internet connectivity and I must say that these have been some of the longest hours of my life. You know one of those days when you badly need to read your email but you can’t because the internet is down – Why is the internet down? You basically do not know. And just when you are about to go to the internet café you learn that the internet is down because apparently the marine cables which are supposed to be delivering a link of fast internet connectivity to your country are broken. The Marine cables are undersea optic fibre cables which were installed to deliver a link of fast internet connectivity to different corners of the world.

3G Vs Broadband Vs Dialup

At times like this I am very pissed at MTN (my internet service provider) and at the same time thinking, life was so much easier when we used to have broadband or that little dial-up connection. It is for that reason why I keep Orange as my other internet service provider on standby – this time Orange didn’t do any better. Back in the days dial-up and broadband internet was much slower than the 3G but much more reliable in terms of uptime.

The completion of the installation of the marine cables is the best thing that has happened to the internet speeds in Uganda as this was very much anticipated. Hoping that the fibre optic cables would bring fast internet to Uganda – I couldnt wait! Yes, to a certain extent the long wait was worth it; with 3G+ internet speeds in Uganda have greatly improved. But people like me are already seeing the cost that the failure of these marine cables will impose on our work/ businesses and economy at large.

Uganda like many other landlocked countries in East Africa are currently investing huge amounts of money to ensure that 3G internet connectivity is widely distributed but I must remind you all that we need to have backup plans for times like this when the marine cables are broken or malfunctioning. Many districts in Uganda don’t have access to broadband which means that when 3G is down, they are (almost) completely unplugged.

Recommendations to service providers about Customer Care

Oh and I probably forgot to remind MTN – I know that your services suck so much but can please send the SMS much earlier next time so I don’t waste a lot of my time “trying to chase the wind”? Thank You!

And to Orange Uganda – my other service provider, what happened to those timely SMS notifications? I used to be so proud of you but I now I am thinking that you have been in Uganda too long that you are already forgetting that Customer Care is key!

And again, broadband and dialup internet connections should still be considered as very strong substitutes to our “beloved” 3G!





Its Fast, Its FREE: Its 0.facebook.com!

21 05 2010

Good bye m.facebook.com. WELCOME 0.facebook.com – its free, its fast!

On Tuesday, May 18th, 2010, Facebook launched a new way of accessing Facebook anytime, anywhere: 0.facebook.com is a new mobile site. On this Mobile Site, you will not be able to view pictures [but who cares about photos on phone?]. However, you will be able to access all the key features of facebook. 0.facebook.com has been fully optimized for your phone for speed. For now it is available to 50 mobile operators in 45 countries. MTN Uganda is one of 50 mobile operators. I am so proud of MTN right now because, many youth will now get a chance to access mobile facebook with out having to worry about using up their airtime on data.

Mobile internet remains very slow in many countries including Uganda. This makes surfing sites like facebook on phone quite boring because of the slow connection. However, because there are not many choices, many facebook users still prefer to use their cell phones to update their facebook statuses.

Soon as I heard about the New *FREE Mobile Facebook, I couldnt believe, so I rushed to my phone, patched in 0.facebook.com – wow! Amazing. I was so out of words.

Thank you MTN Uganda – Thank you Facebook.





introducing GTUG – Google Technology User Group Kampala

27 03 2010

Now Google Apps Users and Developers have a chance to appreciate or critic the various google apps we interact with on the web today!
Apparently GTUGs has been active in many parts around the world but Kampala.

The over 15 or so google apps users and developers who have turned out for the first GTUG meeting in Kampala are sharing their experiences with Google Apps.

Very interesting!!

Thank you Google.

Next Meeting to take place – April 24th, 2010 – Kampala.

Also visit http://kampala.gtugs.org and http://gtugs.org