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Electoral Commission ponders new campaign guidelines after pressure from presidential aspirants

Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama says the electoral body is considering revision of rules on campaigns for the 2021 elections.

The issue of ban on campaign rallies has dominated debate since Byabakama released the revised roadmap for next year’s scientific elections.

Some Ugandans like presidential hopeful Joseph Kabuleta have sued the Commission over the guidelines contained in the roadmap.

Others like Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) flag bearer Maj Gen (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu have petitioned the commission.

In a meeting at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel on July 02, Muntu told Byabakama Covid19 was not an excuse for banning political rallies.

Political party leaders including Mugisha Muntu at the meeting with EC Chairperson Byabakama on July 02.
Political party leaders including Mugisha Muntu at the meeting with EC Chairperson Byabakama on July 02.

“Our media crew has captured what is currently happening in Kikuubo and taxi parks,” Muntu said.

“Our conclusion is that it is easier to have a regulated rally than regulating activities in Owino market that are ongoing.”

After listening to the concerns of the leaders of the political parties, Byabakama said the commission would discuss suggestions of the various stakeholders.

“The commission is considering numerous recommendations by the stakeholders,” he said.

These proposals include allowing aspirants to convene meetings of limited numbers, somewhere between 20 and 100.

Door to door campaigns are also on the table, although Byabakama expressed worry that this could spread Covid19 in case the candidate is infected.

If the EC approves these guidelines, it will be mandatory to observe standard operating procedures (SoPs), and offenders would face heavy penalties.  

Byabakama told aspirants that the Ministry of Health (MoH) scientists would guide the commission on the way forward.

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