Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission-EC has called on presidential candidates to report all cases where security agencies or Resident District Commissioners [RDCs] unjustly interfere in their legitimate campaign programs.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, Paul Bukenya, the spokesperson of the Electoral Commission said that they can’t do anything to help candidates if they don’t register formal complaints with them.
He said although it’s good to inform the media about the obstacles that they face while moving around the country looking for support, they (media) can’t do much in coming up with solutions to these impediments.
Bukenya’s comments follow repeated incidents of the police stopping especially the National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu and the Forum for Democratic Change candidate, Patrick Amuriat Oboi everywhere they go to campaign. Bukenya said for as long as candidates follow the restrictions put in place by the Electoral Commission and the health ministry in regards to campaign meetings, there shouldn’t be a reason why police or any security personnel should interfere with them.
Meanwhile, candidates have also complained about their radio programs being interfered with by the security. Still Kyagulanyi and Oboi have been the biggest victims who have been stopped from appearing at radio stations or cut off shortly before the program started despite of the fact that most of the time, these programs are paid for.
While in Northern Uganda, Oboi spent 30 minutes talking at a radio station while it was off air after some element within the security forces switched off the transmitter. In order to ensure a smooth media campaign, the Electoral Commission is meeting with officials from the Uganda Communication Commission, the agency that regulates the broadcast industry to thrash out all the impediments to candidates appearing on the media. Because of COVID-19, the Electoral Commission banned all mass gatherings in favor of small meetings of 200 people or candidates using the media to reach their voters.
In a related development, today the Electoral Commission flagged off vans to different parts of the country meant to compliment the ongoing public voter sensitization and education. The vans have prerecorded messages and stickers that will help people know about the 2021 general elections that are due on January 14, starting with presidential elections.