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EC letter to police is a pathetic, empty formality – Opposition camps

Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama is under public contention for failure to take control of the electoral process. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Opposition presidential candidates have discredited a letter written by the Electoral Commission to the police on the disruption of campaign meetings by security forces.

The different camps of opposition presidential candidates have expressed a total lack of confidence in the Electoral Commission to direct police to halt its harassment and intimidation of presidential candidates.

In a letter on Thursday to the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola, the Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama noted that he has received complaints from some presidential candidates and also seen press reports alleging that the police is blocking them from accessing scheduled venues for rallies.

He urged the police to respect the harmonized campaign programme noting that conducting campaigns as per the harmonized electoral programme is a recognized activity as per the Presidential Elections Act and the election road map.

Byabakama called on the police to desist from disrupting a legitimate electoral activity.

However, opposition leaders say that the EC chairperson has merely written a communication for the record.

The Democratic Party presidential candidate Norbert Mao says Justice Byabakama has only written a tame letter and the police will continue its brutal actions.

Omar Kalinge-Nnyago, the chairman of Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde’s campaign committee says that the letter displays a serious lack of confidence in the independence of the Electoral Commission.

While dubbing the letter pathetic, he goes on to say that it cannot change anything since the Electoral Commission is merely trying to achieve electronic accountability.

The legal counsel of the National Unity Platform Medard Ssegona says Byabakama’s letter even provides the police with an escape where the EC boss says candidates have to abide by standard operating procedures, these SOPs have been left to interpretation by the police meaning that they will continue to do as they please.

All opposition presidential candidates continue to be frustrated by the security forces who have blocked access to venues, changed venues arbitrarily, dispersed supporters from rallies and violently broken up gatherings during the ongoing campaigns across the country.

The candidates contesting in the election have faced the wrath of the police and the UPDF who insist they are merely enforcing the Electoral Commission and ministry of health guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19.

EC letter

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One comment

  1. I believe it’s every citizen’s responsibility to work towards having a non-violent electocal exercise. As much as it is the mandate of the Electocal Commission to conduct a smooth election, all stakeholders are equally responsible for the same, especially the Opposition side who have sadly taken a defiance approach and expect the Security organs to look on.
    They have sadly smeared the Commission and yet continue participation in the exercise. This defeats sense.

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