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Shrinking political space worries Opposition politicians ahead of 2021 elections

Several opposition party members have been barred from consulting their electorate. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Political leaders in Uganda have expressed their concerns about unequal access to the media and police brutality as the country prepares for 2021 general elections. The politicians demand the leadership of the Uganda’s Electoral Commission to engage in dialogue on how to run political campaigns.

Gen. Mugisha Muntu, Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) presidential candidate wonders how regulations and governments directives are being enforced by the security agencies while the Electoral Commission (EC) looks on.

Gen. Muntu, says that ANT will try to mobilize party members and voters under the current circumstances with a hope that the Electoral Commission intervenes to accord all parties and their candidates a leveled ground.

The leaders also raised concerns about the increasing commercialization of elections. Dorah Amoit, politician in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party argues that not allowing open campaigns has drained financial resources of opposition candidates which is not a fair way to conduct politics in a democracy.

Robert Kyagulanyi, the National Union Platform Presidential nominee for the 2021 presidential elections says he will not stop urging Ugandans to fight for their freedom because the incumbent National Resistance Movement government is torturing Ugandan politicians using the police and army to deny them freedom to exercise their political rights.

Several opposition party members have been barred from consulting their electorate. These include MP Semujju Nganda of the FDC and Joseph Mayanja of (NUP),

Paul Bukenya, the Electoral Commission spokesperson says the 2021 election guidelines and road map are very clear for all stakeholders to follow without any conflict. Once adhered too, the police, politicians and media cannot conflict.

Bukenya says in cases where the police have used excessive force or deployed unlawfully they have been cautioned.

But Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson says some politicians including those in the NRM party and opposition organise processions, and media campaigns illegally.

He cites Robert Kyagulanyi, recently in Jinja, NRM politicians in the NRM primaries in Sembabule, Evelyn Anite in Koboko and Semujju Nganda in Wakiso district.

Enanga says the politicians have to inform police formally and follow the 2021 elections guidelines.

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