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UGANDA: IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Global Fund Uganda CCM moves to further alienate MSM, Transgender, LGB, and IDU populations in HIV/AIDS Programmes

Global Fund Uganda CCM moves to further alienate MSM, Transgender, LGB, and IDU populations in HIV/AIDS Programme.

Key Affected Population (KAPs) groups in Uganda have today reacted with sadness at the unfortunate move by Uganda Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) to block sexual and gender minorities from representation on the CCM.

The activists meeting this morning in Kampala noted that the Global Fund in Uganda had exhibited “unacceptable hypocrisy and prejudice” by insisting on imposing representatives on KAPs, despite an earlier arrangement agreed upon by CCM Uganda and activists to have functional direct representation.

The activists have written to the CCM secretariat indicating dissatisfaction with the biased and unrepresentative manner in which the elections were arranged once again.

“We have chosen not to participate in today’s CCM KAP representatives elections because of it has been stage managed and we cannot henceforth be part of a process that continuously seeks to undermine and intimidate us,” Pepe Julian Onziema, the Programmes and Advocacy Director at SMUG said.

He noted that it was inconceivable that the CCM chairperson Prof. Nantulya, a highly respected and liberal minded person, “should go against the principles agreed upon and demand we participate in another sham and flawed election.”

Activists accused the Uganda CCM on imposing MARPS Network Secretariat to forcefully represent them despite an overwhelming conflict of interest.

 Moses Kimbugwe, the Programmes Manager at Spectrum Uganda added: “The December 2014 elections were nullified due to complaints of conflict of interest on the side of MARPS network. We agreed with CCM in a meeting whose minutes can be availed that a neutral party, say CCM who has no direct benefit from the results of the election convenes and supervises the election.”

“ We could not participate in a flawed election. Conflict of interest and integrity issues have come up often concerning MARPS network. However, Uganda CCM insists on imposing an institution we can not trust on us.” Kimbugwe said.

A strangulation of due process.” Ms Beyonce Karungi, a nominee to the CCM electoral college described the elections. “Even the deaf and blind can use sign language. CCM Uganda cannot continue to undermine us as gender and sexual minorities. To say we  ‘are not of age’ to understand HIV related policy issues is an insult.” she added.

Dr. Frank Mugisha, the Executive Director of SMUG said, “Uganda cannot get to zero new infections with a fixed mindset that alienates some part of the population based on who they are. He noted that although an electoral college had been agreed upon consisting of 40 delegates, CCM Uganda has not honored the due process and went ahead with the elections.”


Notes for the editor

On January 21, 2015 the Uganda CCM officially nullified the disputed results from elections of Key Affected Population representative to the CCM-Uganda, 2015- 17.The CCM Chairperson, Prof. Vinand Nantulya while chairing a meeting of activists from various KAP constituencies noted that there were “obvious flaws” in electing Dr. Geoffrey Mujisha and Ms Shalince Naturinda (both biological relatives-brother and sister) and from the same organization, MARPS Network, without the transparent, verifiable and agreed upon mechanism from Key Affected Populations as an electoral college to Global Fund CCM-Uganda.

Undeclared conflict of interest on the side of MARPS network which convened the meeting and elected its own staff, lack of communication, consultation and feed back from KAP representatives or interested groups featured  prominently  as having caused “ the flawed election; and friction” according to Prof. Nantulya. A number of concerns from us were addressed.

It was observed that for smooth operations of the CCM, new elections be held on February 05, 2015, with a clear, time bound road map and agreed upon Terms of Reference, which CCM Uganda has now dishonored.

That meeting also agreed that LGBTI/MSM and sex workers representation was wanting; with calls for DIRECT representation from self identified LGBTI or sex workers on one of the two available positions on the CCM. A total of eight KAP sub constituencies were identified, with MSM, LGBTI and sex workers included. These groups working directly with Prof. Nantulya were to nominate 5 representatives each and forward names to CCM by January 31, 2015. All nominated representatives were then  to convene on February 05, 2015 for the general election organized by CCM not MARPS network.

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