Contenders in the 2021 general elections will not be allowed to address campaign meetings of more than 70 people, the Electoral Commission (EC) has decreed.
EC chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama told a media briefing on Thursday that in line with the Covid-19 guidelines, processions and mass public gatherings are totally banned.
He said the police and other security organs will ensure that these directives are followed.
“Candidates will, however, be allowed to hold campaign meetings, in a regulated manner, preferably outdoors, with limited attendance of a maximum of 70 persons, to enable the observance of the two-meter social distancing rule for the persons attending the meeting,” Byabakama said.
He added that the candidates and venue owners must ensure that the campaign venues are provided with handwashing facilities and sanitizers and that the supporters attending the campaigns wear face masks at all time, while accessing and exiting the meeting venue.
“Candidates are advised to identify suitable venues within their constituencies and notify the respective Returning Officers, who will conduct an inspection together with the Police and the district Covid-19 Taskforce to ensure the venue will enable observance of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health,” Byabakama said.
Byabakama also announced January 14, 2021 as the date for the election of directly elected and Woman Members of Parliament.
The commission also announced that campaigns for all the candidates nominated for parliamentary and local government elections will commence on November 9, and are expected to end at leaat 24 hours before the voting day.
District chairpersons, city mayors, the Lord Mayor and city councillors will be elected on January 20, 2020, while municipality/city division chairpersons and their councillors will be elected on January 25, 2020.
Sub-county/town/municipal division chairpersons and their councillors will be elected on February 3, 2020.
The dates were announced two days after Parliament questioned delays by the EC to announce nomination dates, even after nominating candidates across the country.
One MP after another said the delay in appointing the exact dates for the elections was making it hard for them to plan their campaign activities.
Byabakama stressed that no one, not even parliament has the powers to tell the commission when the elections should be called.
He said that everything that they do is guided by law and not directives from anyone.
Byabakama said that they can’t announce the date for presidential elections now because the law only permits them to do so after nominations are complete.
The Commission is expected to nominate presidential candidates on November 2 and November 3.