Justice Forum (JEEMA) president also Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa has castigated President Yoweri Museveni’s recent remarks where he hinted at the possibility of calling off next year’s general elections over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a function at which JEEMA took-over the leadership of the Inter-[arty organization for dialogue (IPOD) from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Basalirwa said that political parties need to take on Museveni to explain the basis for his desire to postpone next year’s elections since he failed to declare a state of emergency.
In a recent interview with NBS TV, Museveni said that it would be unreasonable to think of an election during a pandemic like Covid-19 because people’s lives are paramount.
“We want to ask him; under what legal framework was he making that statement? Under our [Uganda] Constitution, there is no where you can talk talk of suspending or extending an election without declaring a state of emergency, or course in consultation with Parliament, which he has failed to do,” Basalirwa said.
“Anybody talking about suspending or extending elections, with due respect, is speaking outside the constitution,” he added.
Basalirwa called for a discussion between the various stakeholders to devise ways of holding the elections amidst a pandemic anticipated to last longer. The discussion, Basalirwa said, should be focused on how the election can be conducted.
Basalirwa spoke after his colleagues demanded that the government to comes up with a clear plan on the 2021 Elections after the initial timeline was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
FDC party president, Patrick Amutiat Oboi, said that the public needs to know if the country shall go to the polls and how this will be done in view of the current interruptions.
UPC president, Jimmy Akena, urged the government to pick lessons from other countries that have conducted elections during the Covid-19 pandemic as this will guide the discussion on whether to conduct an election or not amidst the pandemic.
NRM secretary general, Justine Kasule Lumumba said that while political parties need to engage the Electoral Commission on the new roadmap, allowing political activity will be based on the advice of scientists.
“In the Covid-19 era, we can’t take on political activity without the advice of scientists. As we talk, the scientists are doing the testing and community survaillence. It will be based on [the outcome the scientists’ activities] that a decision will be taken,” Lumumba said.
For the next six months, JEEMA will lead IPOD, a grouping of political parties with representation in Parliament. The other parties are FDC, NRM, DP and UPC.