In response to anxieties over the Covid-19 pandemic, all candidates in the next year’s General Election will be required to hold media campaigns in an attempt to minimise the health risks for the electorate.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has condensed the new 2021 electoral roadmap and modified campaign schedules while balancing the dictates of Article 61(2) of the 1995 Constitution and government requirements for social distancing in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
The timetable and the ban on open air campaign rallies have, however, left a bitter taste in the mouth of opposition leaders who instantly rejected the revised electoral plan as a ploy to rig the elections.
They have also accused EC of overstepping its mandate and making orders on matters which should have been decided by Parliament under Article 110 and 79 of the Constitution.
Opposition parties as well as independent-minded politicians told the “referee” that the proposed media campaigns do not meet the constitutional test of a free, fair and credible election and labelled the arrangement as a hasty exercise intended to help President Museveni hold onto power.
But the EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama said: “We did not want to extend the election because of Article 61(2) within which we are operating at the moment. We are going to move so fast with the revised roadmap and will have campaigns , so all political parties ought to follow our speed.”