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Election Management Bodies in East Africa

The management of elections is increasingly generating impassioned debate in these East African nations – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The bodies that manage and conduct elections are, therefore, coming under intense citizen and stakeholder scrutiny for the manner in which they are composed, how they organise and perform their mandates, and the outcomes they achieve.

The effectiveness of electoral management bodies (EMBs) has largely been influenced by the impact of political violence on election management reforms in East Africa. Even in countries where EMBs are the products of reforms initiated in the aftermath of violent disputes over elections, they still face enormous challenges in dealing with electoral disputes and anticipating election-related crises. Although changes to constitutions and the laws in these countries have sought to make EMBs independent and, therefore, more inclined to deliver free, fair and credible elections, there are many issues that determine their impartiality and their ability to allow for the aggregation and free expression of the will of the people. These shortcomings negatively impact on democracy.

This volume assembles case studies on the capacity of EMBs in these five East African countries to deliver democratic and transparent elections.

Public Broadcasting in Africa Series: Uganda

Uganda's broadcast media landscape has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years. While the public broadcaster remains the dominant national player - in terms of reach - in both radio and television, commercial broadcasters have introduced a substantial level of diversity in the industry. Public broadcasting faces serious competition from the numerous private and independent broadcasters, especially in and around the capital Kampala and major urban centres. In fact, the private/commercial sector clearly dominates the industry in most respects, notably productivity and profitability. The public broadcaster, which enjoys wider geographical coverage, faces the challenge of trying to fulfill a broad mandate with little funding. This makes it difficult for UBC to compete with the more nimble operators in the commercial/private sector. Overall, there appears to be a healthy degree of pluralism and diversity in terms of ownership.