Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission has given a green light to political commentator, Charles Rwomushana to go ahead and do a consultation in his bid to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in the forthcoming elections.
In a letter dated June 22, the Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byamukama Mugenyi directed Rwomushana to strictly observe the Ministry of Health guidelines on public gatherings while conducting his consultations, reminding him that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique health and safety challenges to the manner in which usual business ought to be conducted.
“…you are required to take into account and strictly observe the said measures and ensure social distancing, wearing of masks and washing of hands during consultations,” Byabakama’s letter reads.
He also told Rwomushana that the number of people who should attend his consultation meetings must conform to the Ministry of Health guidelines on gatherings. Through the President, the government banned any meeting exceeding five people, while burials were restricted to 30 people and weddings must be attended by not more than 10 people.
For political gatherings, the order lifting their suspension is yet to be issued. This implies that going by the prevailing guidelines, no political meetings, rallies among others are permitted as of now. The Electoral Commission also warned the prospective candidate not to use his consultations as campaigns and distribute materials, hold rallies or processions.
“Ordinarily consultations mean an exchange of views in an attempt to reach a decision. Accordingly, the identified venue, mode and manner of the consultative meeting ought to facilitate the exchange of views between the aspirant and those being consulted,” Justice Byabakama added.
Rwomushana, a former RDC and political intelligence officer at State House, joins 23 other people who have expressed interest in taking on President Museveni in the forthcoming election.
The Electoral Commission has already issued the roadmap which is to be followed. However, there is a fierce debate on the proposal that the elections be held devoid of public rallies for fear of the spread of the coronavirus.