The ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] is unhappy with the decision by the Electoral Commission [EC] suspending political campaigns in 20 districts as a result of the continued rise in cases of Covid-19.
Speaking at the NRM Secretariat this morning, Justine Kasule Lumumba, the NRM Secretary-General said that the decision badly affects their campaign schedule seeing that their presidential candidate, Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni was meant to campaign in Wakiso, Mukono and Kampala districts between Monday and Wednesday this week.
On Saturday, EC chairperson Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon suspended campaigns in 20 districts including; Jinja, Jinja City, Kabale, Kalungu, Masaka, Masaka City, Tororo, Kampala, Luwero, Wakiso, Mukono, Buikwe, Buvuma, Kayunga, Mbarara, Mbarara City, Kabalore, Fort Portal City, Kasese and Kazo.
“All candidates’ meeting are hereby suspended until further notice and candidates are advised to restrict themselves to virtual campaigns-radios, televisions, social media…These measures are necessitated by the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country and the need to preserve the health of the citizens vis-a-vis their constitutional and democratic right to elect leaders of their choice…” Byabakama said in a press statement.
Lumumba wondered if Covid-19 is such a big threat in those districts, where not declare a lockdown on those areas.
However, Lumumba denied accusations that the EC was doing NRM’s bidding by suspending campaigns in areas such as Masaka, Kampala and Wakiso among others where the opposition seems to be having an upper hand.
Lumumba said contrary to what is being said, NRM and President Museveni were the biggest victims because opposition presidential candidates like Mugisha Muntu of the Alliance for National Transformation and Patrick Amuriat Oboi of the Forum for Democratic Change had already campaigned in some of the districts where the campaigns have been suspended.
Lumumba called upon the Electoral Commission to convene a meeting of candidates to decide on the way forward now that campaigns have been suspended.
She said the Electoral Commission should ensure that candidates get a way of reaching out to their supporters by for example paying for the air time on the media.
Ugandans will go to the polls to vote for the president and members of parliament on January 14, 2021.
Campaigns are expected to end on January 12th. Ten candidates were nominated to challenge President Museveni’s 35-year long hold onto power