The opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine and his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) counterpart Patrick Amuriat Oboi have on Monday snubbed a meeting with the Electoral Commission over their alleged flouting of COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
The Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama on December 10, 2020 issued a summon letter to both Bobi Wine and Amuriat over persistent violation of COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures SOPs during the campaigns.
After receiving the letter, Bobi Wine said he would not suspend his campaigns to attend the meeting with the Electoral Commission unless the Commission was to give him more time to campaign.
Similarly, Amuriat said he would ignore the meeting.
The two presidential candidates who are campaigning in Karamoja sub region and other districts in Northern Uganda have instead sent their representatives for the meeting with the Electoral Commission.
NUP’s delegation was led by its vice president for Central Region Mathias Mpuuga and included other members such its lawyer Medard Lubega Ssegona, Secretary General Lewis Rubongoya, spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi among others.
On the other hand, the FDC delegation included lawyer Julius Galisonga who is holding the party flag for Bugweri county parliamentary seat and will contest against ex FDC senior member and fellow lawyer Abdul Katuntu.
According to public health guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Electoral Commission, any campaign rally must have not more than 200 people.
However, Bobi Wine and Amuriat have severally held huge campaign rallies which have in turn resulted into clashes with security agencies.
In a letter written on Monday by Bobi Wine to the Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama, the presidential candidate said that he has not breached any law but rather accused security agencies of doing so.
“Let me reiterate that our campaign has not in any way breached the COVID-19 regulations or the SOPs. In fact, it is the police and other security agencies which have persistently breached the law, blocked our meetings, illegally held us at roadblocks, denied us access to accommodation, ejected us out if radio stations among other things,” read the letter in part.
“These are the matters we have brought to your attention severally but you have taken no action to ensure that the brutality stops, and that the playing field is leveled for all candidates.”
In the same letter, Bobi Wine highlighted other complaints that included “selective enforcement of COVID-19 regulations/ SOPs.”
“In all engagements with your Commission, we have complained about the selective application of COVID-19 SOPs to me, while the same are not applied to candidate Museveni and his supporters,” said Bobi Wine.
He added that whereas Gen Museveni has talked tough about COVID-19 regulations, “he continues to violate the same with impunity. In all cases, security agencies have blocked us from accessing the city centers through the highways citing the need not to disrupt business in those towns.”
It should however be noted that on a few occasions where candidate Museveni has briefly talked to his large crowds of supporters, he has since the commencement of election campaigns held “scientific” meetings with leaders from various regions and districts.
Museveni has always insisted that his supporters gather to meet him but he does not get out of his car to wave to them as this would facilitate the further spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, various members of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party such as Minister of State for Microfinance Haruna Kasolo Kyeyune, Nakawa East NRM parliamentary flag bearer Fred Ruhindi among others have in the recent past held huge campaign rallies exceeding 200 people.