CRISPIN KAHERU HANGS HIS BOOTS AFTER 9 YEARS; BUT HOW WILL THE CCEDU BIG MAN BE REMEMBERED?
By Mulengera Reporters
Crispin Kaheru, who has been the National Coordinator for Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy (CCEDU), has finally called it a day at the Nsambya-based organization. In a three paged resignation letter (11th September 2019), Kaheru brings the matter to the attention of new CCEDU BoD Chairperson Dr. Miria R.K Matembe who he informs his resignation will take effect on Thursday 11th October 2019.
Kaheru asserts that after straight 9 years of excellent service, he believes he has achieved his personal goals as promised to the CCEDU fraternity in 2010/11 when he first accepted to serve as Coordinator. Under him, CCEDU has built a robust human resource pool in every district of Uganda which has kept the Coalition on top of political and electoral developments in the country. Under Kaheru’s able leadership, CCEDU has registered tremendous achievement including forging local and global partnership for effective advocacy for electoral reforms, the conduct of voter mobilization campaigns and monitoring electoral processes.
“During my tenure, I have had the honor of coordinating critical nationwide citizen-centred electoral advocacy efforts as well as superintending over non-conventional voter mobilization campaigns such as Honor Your vote, Votability and Topowa,” Kaheru braggingly states in his resignation letter. In his estimation, all these campaigns positively influenced millions of Ugandans to participate in the 2016 General elections.
Kaheru also led election monitoring missions for domestic and international elections on behalf of CCEDU, represented CCEDU in the Uganda National Dialogue process since 2016 and worked with a civic group that boasted of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who are also its members across the country. Last year, the Electoral Commission suspended CCEDU from observing elections in Uganda citing partisan practices in its work halting dissemination of electoral messages at a critical time for bye-elections and elections in new constituencies across the country. EC Chairperson Simon Byabakama Mugyenyi said last July that CCEDU shunned the women council election calling it a sham despite the big turn up. He also accused CCEDU officials of going to the media and discrediting the electoral processes. The EC later halted the suspension after complex negotiations in which Kaheru represented CCEDU.
Kaheru says he achieved human capital development for CCEDU whose secretariat now boasts of 15 full-time staff compared to the 2 he started with. Kaheru is also leaving behind a team of 9,645 vastly knowledgeable domestic election observers spread across the country. More in his resignation dossier which Miria Matembe’s Board is yet to accept.
NOTICE OF RESIGNATION FROM CCEDU*
Dear Honorable Dr. Matembe: Re: Notice of Resignation
First of all, I wish to congratulate you on your election as Chair of CCEDU’s Board of Directors. Your election comes at a time of transformation and I am confident that, under your leadership, the Board will ensure that CCEDU is fit for purpose. During the past nine (9) years, I have had the honor of working with CCEDU and the Secretariat team on enriching our citizenship experience as Ugandans. I have experienced moments of extraordinary progress as well as great challenges. I have led teams and participated in critical historical events. During this period, I have also fulfilled my personal commitment. Madam Chair, this letter serves as notice that I will be resigning from my position as the Coordinator of the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) with effect from Friday 11th October 2019 at 5:30pm (17:30hours). Please note that 11th October 2019 will mark exactly nine (9) years since I became the Coordinator of CCEDU. On assuming that role, at the age of 26, I made a personal commitment to serve in this position for a maximum of nine (9) years; so now, having fulfilled my personal pledge, it is time for me to begin a new phase in my professional life.
Below, please find an overview of some of the achievements that have characterized my tenure of service:
Human Capital: We have made great strides in ensuring that CCEDU recruits and retains enthusiastic professional staff, who are capable of delivering on the Coalition’s mandate. CCEDU’s staff profile has grown from two (2) volunteers in 2009 to 15 full-time staff in 2019. CCEDU has over the years striven to build the most talented and dedicated team for the Secretariat. Besides the Secretariat, CCEDU has built a robust human resource pool in every district of Uganda. Although this network is not formally a part of the Secretariat, its role feeds directly into the work of the Secretariat on a daily basis and has kept CCEDU on top of political and electoral developments in the country every day.
Madam Chair, I have worked closely with my colleagues at the Secretariat, and I can attest to their unmatched abilities to take CCEDU to higher levels. At senior managerial level, both Ms. Charity Ahimbisibwe, currently the Head of Communication and Mr. Ivan Mwaka, the Head of Elections, have the competencies and skills to execute major organizational decisions, manage overall operations and resources of CCEDU, and act as the focal point of communication between the Board of Directors and the Coalition. In fact, they have reliably held fort when I have been away on mission. I am confident that I leave behind a team that is first and foremost committed to the cause of CCEDU, but also more importantly, a team with unparalleled experience and expertise in managing electoral matters of the country and the region at large.
Institutionalization and Institutional Strengthening: Madam Chairperson, CCEDU has evolved into a fully-fledged legal entity registered with the Bureau of NGOs. From a humble start in 2009 when I joined, CCEDU is now a strong actor, constructively influencing electoral and political affairs in the country and beyond. From sixteen (16) founding member organizations in 2009, CCEDU’s institutional membership has since grown to 972 reputable organizations. In addition, CCEDU’s individual members have increased from 302 in 2009 to over 25,018 in 2019. I have had the honor of overseeing the growth of the ‘CCEDU fans base’ from 1,250 in 2009 to 4,980,201 Ugandans in 2019. We now have up-to-date and accurate contact information of all our fans in an official database. Strengthening the framework for election management in Uganda will require putting the citizens and their aspirations at the center of the struggle for free, fair, credible and transparent elections.
Programs and Partnerships: Madam Chair, CCEDU has carved out a niche in advocacy for electoral reforms, conducting voter mobilization campaigns and monitoring electoral processes. During my tenure, I have had the honor of coordinating critical nationwide citizen-centered electoral reform advocacy efforts as well as superintending over non-conventional voter-mobilization campaigns such as, Honor Your Vote, Votability and Topowa. These campaigns positively influenced millions of Ugandans. I have had the opportunity to lead election-monitoring exercises – both locally and internationally, on behalf of CCEDU. I proudly leave behind a pool of about 9,645 trained, domestic election observers. Some of the initiatives I have had the honor to lead have delivered tangible results; while others have laid a firm foundation for stronger citizen self-representation.
I have had the enviable opportunity of leading CCEDU into the Uganda National Dialogue process since 2016, and the National Initiative for Civic Education in Uganda launched in March 2019. Madam Chair, I am convinced that these are important spaces for CCEDU to drive its agenda and that of fellow Ugandans – if well managed. I encourage the Board to remain open and supportive to both processes as spaces to contribute to the promotion of genuine democracy, constructive citizenship and sustainable development. I am honored to have worked with a civic group that leverages the purely voluntary spirit of hundreds of thousands of its members across the country. It is gratifying to note that for the entire period I have worked with CCEDU, members have faithfully contributed their time, intellectual and financial capital towards CCEDU’s campaigns without necessarily expecting to be financially rewarded. This spirit of volunteerism of the membership is what has given me the strength and courage to make extraordinary sacrifices that I would ordinarily not have made.
Madam Chair, as I exit, I can assure you that I leave behind a committed CCEDU membership that truly believes in the vision and mission of CCEDU – and a membership that is foresighted and ready to walk the last mile to realize the Coalition’s aspirations. My final year (2019) at CCEDU has focused on overseeing institutional reforms to make the Coalition and its structures more vibrant and supportive of CCEDU’s mission. In a meeting held on 6th September 2019, I extensively shared with you the institutional reforms that I have been able to effect – as well as my strategic vision for CCEDU. I sincerely hope that both the reforms so far implemented and elements in the strategic vision discussed will further set CCEDU on a firm path to continue effectively championing the necessary electoral reforms, election monitoring and voter mobilization/education.
Madam Chair, I will make certain that my Handover Report covering my tenure at CCEDU is updated before my last day of work. I will also officially hand in all CCEDU property and equipment that is in my possession prior to my departure. I remain available to help with the transition of my Coordination duties so that the CCEDU operations continue to run smoothly after my departure. In addition, I will also be available to support any CCEDU-related transitional assignments – on a purely voluntary basis.
Lastly, I may have erred in different ways or fallen short of the high expectations of many, as I executed my coordination role. Please note that I strove to be the best that I could be in carrying out my duties. I ask for forgiveness from those I may have wronged. To those who assisted me on my professional path, I am sincerely grateful. To those that I may have helped, I truly wish I had done more. To those who feel that I did not help or did not help enough, I humbly ask for your understanding. Going forward, it is my most sincere hope that CCEDU remains an independent and objective player so that it retains the confidence of the citizens of Uganda. Despite the pressures that characterize Uganda´s political terrain, CCEDU should always strive to remain on the side of truth and on the path of integrity.
Madam Chair, as I retire from my role, I want to reiterate that it has been an exceptional honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Uganda. I am proud to have done so, with a dedicated team that has a deep commitment to CCEDU. Please accept my prayers for your success and that of the entire CCEDU membership going forward. Yours sincerely, Crispin Kaheru Coordinator, CCEDU. (For comments, reach us on 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).