The opposition Democratic Party (DP) has opposed the new electoral roadmap launched by the Electoral Commission today Tuesday ahead of 2021 elections.
While launching the roadmap at Electoral Commission headquarters in Kampala today, the Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama said political rallies have been banned and aspiring candidates will have to campaign through the media in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since gathering people or masses is a high-risk aspect of person to person transmission of the virus, the usual mass rallies will not be entertained and candidates will be advised to conduct their campaigns using the media. The Commission in consultation with the Ministry of Health considered and adopted Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to facilitate safe participation by all stakeholders in the electoral process,” said Byabakama.
In response, the DP President who is expected to hold the party flag in the 2021 general elections rubbished the roadmap and challenged EC to withdraw it.
“There is nothing like a scientific election in the Constitution of Uganda. The essence of democracy is that all those who are qualified to contest should contest and they must be in a position to ensure that their messages reach the voters. We have to engage with the Electoral Commission to unpack the scientific election. We cannot do an election just to have a ritual,” he said.
He added, “if the scientific election is not based on consensus by all the players, there will be no tournament. Therefore, on behalf of DP, we propose to unpack that so-called scientific election before we make any further comment on it. It is not possible to say people will campaign on radio.”
People campaigning on radio, Mao said that it will be disadvantageous to many candidates especially the new ones who are not popular.
He challenged the Electoral Commission for launching an unprecedented roadmap without holding internal consultations.
“We are here. We have not refused to come and give our views to the Electoral Commission. For us who insist on thinking for ourselves, we challenge the Electoral Commission to invite us for a serious consultation on an election which will not compromise the quality of our democracy,” Mao added.