A meeting between the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu did not achieve its desired goal – on the part of the EC, as the musician cum politician used the opportunity to accuse the electoral body of playing double standards.
Kyagulanyi was forced to get off his campaign schedule to respond to the summons by the EC over his alleged abuse of guidelines intended to contain the spread of Covid-19. On Monday, the EC turned away a team led by the opposition party’s deputy president for Buganda, Mathias Mpuuga, insisting that it wanted to interface with the presidential candidate himself.
At about 9:30 am, Kyagulanyi in the company of Mpuuga, NUP secretary-general, David Lewis Rubongoya and lawyer, Medard Lubega Sseggona among other party officials, arrived at the Jinja Road based EC headquarters for the closed-door meeting.
Three hours later, the opposition politicians emerged from the meeting room to a tent where scores of journalists were waiting.
“We have told [the EC chairman, Justice Simon] Byabakama that it is now clear that the commission is playing double standards by summoning us over the same violations that are committed by candidate Yoweri Museveni and his agents but he is not being summoned. We have also reminded him of our various complaints to the EC about the illegal acts by the police and the military, blocking us from accessing our campaign venues and radios but the commission has remained silent,” Kyagulanyi said.
“We have now come to believe that the EC is not only silent but part of the plan by the security agencies to fail us,” he added.
Kyagulanyi ruled out the possibility of suspending the rallies because it is the only means through which he is capable of speaking to his supporters since security forces have blocked him from accessing several media houses across the country on which he would have talked about his candidacy.
Last week, Kyagulanyi was summoned at the Electoral Commission to answer to charges that he was holding mass gatherings against its directives and those of the Ministry of Health which limit campaign meetings to only 200 people.
However, Kyagulanyi and other presidential candidates including that of the National Resistance Movement, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni have on different occasions held rallies with more people than those recommended.
In reacting to Kyagulanyi’s vow not to honor the directive, Byabakama said that that the electoral body will not hesitate to take action against the presidential hopeful since he is not above the law.
Byabakama read to the media a letter written to him by the director-general of health services Dr. Henry Mwebesa urging him to take action against politicians who continue to flout guidelines hence putting the lives of the people in jeopardy.
The letter said that in only three days last week, the Ministry registered more than 2000 Covid-19 cases. It added that if the trend continues like this, the situation is likely to get out of hand.