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EC tasked to address anticipated cyber violence during virtual campaigns

Members of UWONET issued a press statement today about the impact of virtual electioneering in the 2021 elections. PHOTO via @uwonet

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Women’s Network-UWONET has tasked Electoral Commission to address the anticipated cyber violence especially targeting women during the virtual 2021 election campaigns.

According to the revised roadmap of 2021 elections issued by Electoral Commission, all candidates are expected to use digital platforms for campaigning because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing journalists at their headquarters, Sandra Komuhimbo, the UWONET research knowledge and advocacy manager says it is important for Electoral Commission to think through on how to manage cyber violence including bullying and harassment and how they will be able to truck and arrest the perpetrators.

She explained that it’s important that as a country we are able to put measures through the Electoral Commission together with police and this will require adequate implementation and budgets towards ensuring the curbing down the bullying, harassment that will happen online during the elections.

Angella Assimwe, a representative of Voice Consults Limited Company, said it will not be free and fair virtual elections in 2021 once the female candidate and voter’s rights are violated through cyber harassment acts that are always done by computer hackers on digital platforms like Facebook among others.

Jotham Taremwa, the Electoral Commission Public Relations Officer informed URN that cyber violence is now the emerging issue that needs time to address before the elections start.

Perry Aritua, the Executive Director of Women’s Democracy in Uganda complained on the number of political talk shows held in the night which isn’t favorable for women due to insecurity.

She asked the Electoral commission to put in place measures to ensure the safety of women while campaigning on radio and televisions. Electoral Commission has set between Jan 10th and Feb 8th, 2021 as the polling for the 2021 elections.

According to the roadmap, political parties should have held primaries for their candidates between June 22 and July 21. The nominations of candidates for local government elections including the Special Interest Groups is scheduled between September 7 to 17.

Nominations for parliamentary elections will be held between October 12 to 13. While presidential nominations will be held between November 2. Parliamentary campaigns will be held between October 20 to January 8 whereas presidential campaigns, which will also be digital will be held between November 10 to January 8, 2020.

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