The Electoral Commission has on Friday issued stringent Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for various election activities for purposes of the general election roadmap 2020/21.
The EC chairman Justice Simon Byabakama has said these SOPs incorporate measures and guidelines put in place by the Ministry of Health and the outcome of consultations made by the Commission with various stakeholders in the electoral process.
Among the new guidelines; the process of picking and returning of nomination forms is limited to only 2 cars per candidate, excluding the incumbent President. Each car must carry only 4 persons including the driver.
Full list of SOPs
SOPs for issuance and receipt of nomination guidelines and nomination forms
“In order to prevent and combat person to person, person to object and object to person spread of COVID-19 during issuance of nomination papers, soft copies of nomination forms and relevant guidelines have been uploaded on the Electoral Commission website. Aspiring candidates may access them using the link www.ec.or.ug,” said Byabakama.
Hard copies of nomination papers, he said, may be picked from the Electoral Commission head office by aspiring presidential candidates or their agents and from the office of District Returning Officers for aspirants to the general Parliamentary and Local Government Council elections.
SOPs for collection of supporters signatures
All aspiring candidates and respective agents, while accessing and leaving the homes of voters required to sign their nomination forms, shall be required to wash hands and wear the recommended face masks.
SOPs for conduct of nomination activities
The Commission shall provide hand washing facilities and sanitizers at all the nomination venues, and the aspiring candidate, proposer and seconder shall be required to wash hands while accessing and exiting the nomination venue.
The aspiring candidate, appearing in person shall be allowed into nomination venue accompanied by 2 persons (seconder and proposer), who shall be required to wear masks at all times.
Aspiring candidates are advised to use only two vehicles for purposes of his/ her nominations and each vehicle should not carry more than 4 persons, driver inclusive.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the incumbent President, if he is an aspiring candidate shall use such number of vehicles as is ordinarily attached to his office,” said Byabakama.
The respective returning officers conducting nominations, security personnel and all persons accessing nomination venues shall be required to wash hands, sanitize, wear face masks and gloves.
Motor vehicle and motorcycle convoys and crowds of supporters shall not be allowed during the period designed for nominations.
SOPs for conducting campaign meetings
Public gatherings and mass rallies remain banned.
Although candidates may organise regulated campaign meetings, conveners of such meetings and venue owners should ensure that measures and guidelines put in place by the Ministry of Health to combat COVID-19 are observed.
Conveners of the meeting should notify the police authority in the respective area on the identified venues which shall be inspected for suitability in regard to compliance with Ministry of Health guidelines.
All candidates are advised to desist from holding mass rallies, conducting processions from one meeting to another. Similarly, convoys and crowds of supporters shall not be allowed outside the designated meeting venue.
Use of media for political campaigns
All nominated candidates are advised to submit to the Returning Officer, a copy of their proposed campaign meetings and media campaign programmes.
All political parties and organisations sponsoring candidates are similarly advised to submit to the respective Returning Officers, their political party broadcast programmes.
The Electoral Commission will, through Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), require all media houses (privately owned inclusive) to make public their rate cards, availability of time, the broadcast schedule and cost of presenting their programs and allocate time to the candidates.
During campaign period, candidates may use community based public address systems commonly known as “bizindalo” and a program for usage should be communicated by candidates/ agents to the respective Returning Officers.
The State owned media house (UBC) shall within 14 days after nomination day, notify in writing, all presidential candidates of the availability of time, the broadcasting schedule and cost of presenting their programs and shall allocate time to the candidates.