Politics

Digitalizing 2021 Campaigns Poses More Questions than Answers – Gen Tumukunde

Retired General Henry Tumukunde has today joined other political actors in questioning the logic behind holding digitalized campaigns in the build up to the February 18, 2021 General Elections.

Addressing journalists at his Kololo Office on Wednesday, Tumukunde posed a number of questions, which he said might mar the credibility and fairness of the entire election.

Speaking today, Tumukunde asked the Government to explain how it is prepared to stop the Covid-19 pandemic at a time when cross border communities continue to move at will.

“You know our porous borders; you know actually that Kakwas spread into Sudan, Itesot spread into Kenya. Who told you that these people know what borders are all about? Do they know?” he asked.

Commenting on the same matter, Tumukunde also marveled at the ineffectiveness of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) citing the example of ‘Kikuubo’ a down town Bazaar in Kampala.

“I remember when I addressed NTV, the Kikuubo was full, packed and running. How can you do social distancing in Kikuubo?” he further asked.

That aside, Tumukunde aimed a slight jibe at the Electoral Commission saying at no juncture does it talk about the measures it would take in the event that its senior personnel are taken ill with the viral flu.

“What if we get a case of the Chairman of Electoral Commission getting the Covid-19, what happens? You know how long it actually takes to recoup an electoral commission,” he wondered.

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Importantly, he said EC should have elaborate plans on such emergencies now that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned Uganda of a second phase.

Second to this, Tumukunde intimated that the revised electoral road map does not take into account logistical challenges that might arise as a result of the Corona Virus curfew.

“In the last elections, you know well electoral materials reached Wakiso here at 2 O’clock….If there is delivering of these materials to different centers how are you going to do it?” he pointed out.

On a legal side, Tumukunde intimated that there are no specific laws stipulating how candidates shall access radio and television stations to air out their messages. As if that is not enough, Tumukunde says there is no way such laws can be imposed on privately owned stations.

“I can use Jinja as an example, one is owned by Hon Balyeku, another one is owned by Hon. Nabeta and another one is owned by Hon. Mwiru,” Tumukunde said.

“Assuming critical times come and they say don’t allow an opposed man to NRM to speak on NRM. What powers do you have over Balyeku’s radio, who are you?” he further added.

At the tail end, he retorted that Uganda’s media cannot accommodate the multitude of candidates that will present themselves for elections.

Responding to the same matter last week, ECs Spokesperson Jotham Taremwa said their hands are tied by the constitution which demands for periodical elections every five years.

“You see the constitution demands that we have elections and we have always had elections. But here we are in a situation when mass gatherings are prohibited and are a carrier of Covid-19. So what do you do?” Taremwa responded.

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