Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Electoral Commission is set to hold a meeting with all presidential candidates to review the first days of their campaigns that started on November 9. The EC spokesperson Paul Bukenya says the meeting is scheduled to take place at the commission headquarters in Kampala on Monday. He told URN in an interview on Saturday that both the Electoral Commission and presidential candidates have identified key issues that need to be addressed. Among the issues to be discussed in the meeting is non-compliance with the COVID-19 preventive measures by some presidential candidates.
Bukenya says all the presidential candidates have been notified of the meeting, adding that they are expected to attend in person. “This meeting won’t disrupt the normal campaign schedule, the candidates campaigns and meetings can still go on because the candidate will be represented by their official campaign agents,” says Bukenya.
But Godwin Matsiko Muhwezi, the official campaign agent for independent presidential candidate Joseph Kiiza Kabuleta says they haven’t received any notification from the Electoral Commission about the meeting. He however notes that they had earlier raised several issues in a series of meetings with the Electoral Commission which haven’t been addressed among which the facilitation of the security detail. Muhwezi says the police bodyguards provided by the Electoral Commission haven’t received any facilitation for food and accommodation, adding that the expenses are being shouldered by their candidate.
Joel Ssenyonyi, the National Unity Platform-NUP party spokesperson confirmed receiving an invitation from the Electoral Commission. He says as a party, they have several issues they intend to raise to the Electoral Commission among them concerns of campaign venues for their candidate Robert Ssentamu Kyaguklanyi being sealed off by the police. Kyagulanyi has failed to conduct open campaigns in several districts because of police blocking his campaign venues on grounds of failing to observe the COVID-19 preventive measures.
The meeting comes a few days after the Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama issued warnings to all candidates over violation of the campaign guidelines.
Justice Byabakama noted that some candidates are mobilizing their supporters to gather at campaign venues in large numbers, making processions along public roads through towns and trading centers and making impromptu stopovers attracting public gatherings along busy highways from their car rooftop.
“The Commission warns all candidates contesting for various elective positions under the general elections 2021 and all other stakeholders in the electoral process to conduct themselves in accordance with the guidelines for the campaigns and strictly observe the measures issued by the commission,” says Byabakama.
He warned that non-compliance with the guidelines issued for the campaign period will necessitate intervention by law enforcement agencies among other measures. A total of 11 presidential candidates kicked off campaigns on November 9th ahead of 2021 general elections scheduled for January 14th.