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Covid-19 restrictions affect political party mobilization activities

ANT party president Mugisha Muntu. The party could not hold the national delegates conference due to Covid-19 containment measures. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Covid-19 pandemic containment measures have taken a huge toll on political party mobilization activities. Several opposition political party leaders say that they are unable to mobilize their grassroots structures because of the restrictions, such as the limitation on the number of people who can attend meetings.

Alice Alaso, the National Coordinator of the Alliance for National Transformation, says they are currently unable to host more than twenty (20) people because of the restrictions. She explains that besides failing to meet the targeted number of people at the village level, they could not hold the national delegates conference.

Alaso says that as a result, the party lacks leadership from the grassroots.

Although the Democratic Party (DP) managed to convene its delegates conference, the Secretary General Gerald Blacks Siranda, says that they had to cut the number of delegates from each district to two from five.

This limited the number of people who participated in the election of the party leadership, which the says partly undermines democracy. He however said that they have been unable to meet elected leaders on the DP ticket to nurture them, reenergize those who failed in the polls and build party structures in the new cities and the five divisions of Kampala because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

According to Siranda, online platforms like Zoom can not address some issues that need a physical presence.

The situation isn’t any different with the Forum for Democratic Party (FDC). The deputy party spokesperson John Kikonyogo, says that they failed to elect new party leaders, which prompted the national council to postpone the exercise until the situation improves.

Muzeyi Faizo, the head of communication in Uganda People’s Congress-UPC party, says that prior to the general elections, their president Jimmy Akena had launched regional tours to mobilize support for the party. He however says that they couldn’t push through with the program because of the Covid-19 prevention guidelines.

According to Faizo, they were unable to audit the results of the general election, which greatly affects their performance as a party. David Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary-General of Uganda’s youngest and main opposition party in parliament, says that they were unable to mobilize their supporters to reclaim their stolen victory in the general election because of Covid-19 restrictions.

According to Rubongoya, the government took advantage of the pandemic to curtail their activities under enforcing the Covid-19 containment measures.



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