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We can’t breathe, says Basalirwa on expensive 2021 scientific election campaigns

MP Asuman Basalirwa. Courtesy Photo

Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa has predicted the 2021 election will be the most expensive and confusing in decades.

Also Justice Forum (Jeema) party president, Basalirwa is worried that most candidates may not afford the cost of a ‘scientific’ electoral campaign.

Basalirwa, who is the chairman of Inter Party Organization for Dialogue (Ipod), said that Uganda will have an election that no one can describe.

“Some people are asking, ‘are we conducting a scientific election? Is it a hybrid Election, are we going to vote through phones?” he said during Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (Ccedu) AGM held in Muyenga Kampala on August 31.

Asuman Basalirwa at the Ccedu AGM. Courtesy Photo

He said that the confusion is arising from the Electoral Commission, which released guidelines which are yet to get the full backing of the law.


Basalirwa further decried the partisan implementation of Covid19 guidelines which most ruling NRM party-leaning politicians allowed to campaign while opposition members are denied access to the electorate.

“The ground is so unlevelled. While NRM is left to hold meetings, other political parties are denied the chance by the Police,” he observed.

“[Mityana Municipality MP Francis] Zaake was beaten for distributing food and yet Hon Haruna Kasolo was not beaten even when he distributed food during Covid19. We need civil societies like Ccedu to restrain the Police.”


He further noted that scientific campaigns have increased the cost of vote hunting.

Infact, he believes the 2021 election will be “one of the most expensive campaigns in the history of this country.”

“In the past we as candidates used to have rallies and campaign and go home, but now we have to hold small group meetings and the cost implications are enormous. We have to feed the people we host and also provide transport refund,” he noted.

“We the candidates cannot breathe. For the candidates who are not holding small meeting we are walking door to door convincing voters to vote for us.


The opposition politician also expressed concern that the recently created constituencies would pose more challenges in the compilation of the 2021 register and demarcation of polling stations.

“EC has caused confusion in the whole electoral exercise. Will you make new registers after reorganizing polling stations? This is going to breed more confusion for the voter,” he predicted.


“The law is clear: the first activity on the road map is organizing polling stations; not [waiting to get] half way into the electoral process, then you start reorganizing polling stations. We shall challenge this in court with civil society.”

With voters not sure what election is happening when, he called on Ccedu to step in and fill the civic education gap that the EC is yet to fill.

But Kampala Regional Elections Officer Fred Tibakuno, EC chairperson Simon Byabakama’s representative at the meeting, said the commission was committed to offer civic education to Ugandans.

He explained that the EC had already procured megaphones to educate and sensitize voters on the 2021 election process.

Tibakuno praised Ccedu, saying it was “more than a partner to the EC” and “a friend.”

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