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Electoral Commission Backs Police on Dispersing Illegal Processions, Campaign Rallies

The Electoral Commission has revealed that the Uganda police Force and its sister agencies are right to disrupt any campaign procession and rallies that are organized contrary to the initially agreed upon harmonized forms of campaigns that are aimed at combating the spread of the deadly COVID-19.

In an interview with the Chimpreports, Paul Bukenya, the Spokesperson of the Electoral Commission said a section of politicians especially opposition have diverted from the initial agreed mode of campaigning and decided to hold mass rallies and processions, which is exposing the voters to contraction of the deadly COVI-19 disease.

“Any campaign meeting, which is organized in the harmonized way, on the agreed date, with the number that we agreed upon with guidance from the Ministry of Health, cannot be foiled and wherever the police have foiled them is because such campaigns are illegal,” he said.

“It is the duty of Police and Health officials to stop any campaign that is outside the above preparations, because it is endangering the lives of Ugandans.”

According to Bukenya, all candidates, presidential, Parliamentarians and others are supposed to meet only 200 people whose temperatures are measured, sanitize and maintain social distance.

Preliminary research indicates that out of the 11 candidates who are aspiring for Uganda’s presidency, it is only Yoweri Kaguta Museveni from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) who is following the harmonized campaigns of meeting only district leaders and using TV and Radios.

All opposition candidates with an exception of a few are doing the opposite, which has attracted police and its sister agencies to act against them which they (opposition) have termed as “brutality”.

On Monday this week, agents of different candidates reported to the EC that Police was foiling their campaigns in the districts they were conducting them from.

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Police since the commencement of the campaigns has foiled a number campaigns of different opposition presidential candidates over breaching the COVID-19 guidelines.

It should be noted that last week, Justice Simon Byabakama sent out a warning to candidates against the set guidelines.

Some candidates are conducting processions along public roads, through towns and trading centres, and are also holding rallies in non-designated venues as per the harmonised campaign programme. This is in violation of the Commission’s Guidelines that the campaigns should be conducted in observance of Standard Operating Procedures (social distancing, hand washing, and wearing of masks) and in designated places,” he said.

“These spontaneous public addresses are a violation of the Commission’s Guidelines which provides for conduct of campaign meetings only in the approved venues and in accordance with the harmonised campaign programme, which clearly indicates the dates, time and venues for such meetings”

“Non-compliance with the Guidelines issued for the campaign period will necessitate intervention by law enforcing agencies, among other measures.”

Among the most affected candidates are; Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine from the National Unity Platform party, Patrick Amuriat Oboi from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Joseph Kabuleta and Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde both independents.

Bobi Wine for example said police was using excessive force in handling him and his supporters citing Sironko, Mbale and Bugiri incidents.

“Moments after teargas canister was thrown inside the car in which we were travelling, Mr. Asiimwe Abraham who previously nearly blinded me with red pepper spray personally threw the canister inside my car and looked on with satisfaction as we all suffered under the weight of teargas,.” He said

In Bugiri, Bobi Wine said that his supporters who had already stormed the venue of their meeting were arrested while many were wounded.

“We continue to put these brutal officers on notice. There will be a time when you will personally answer for all these crimes that you are committing in the name of maintaining Museveni’s life presidency,” he said

Bobi Wine while addressing media at his offices in Kampala prior to commencement of his campaigns in Arua promised to let “(them) hate Scientific Campaigns”

Lt Gen Tumukunde and Joseph Kabuleta are also battling Police in Western Uganda, where they are campaigning currently.

On Sunday last week, Police denied Kabuleta even a chance of having lunch in Masindi.

The same is happening to Oboi who is battling Police in Eastern and Northern Uganda.

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