The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama has said the Commission will not spare President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the presidential candidate of the National Resistance Movement if he breaks the campaign guidelines set by the commission.
Under the harmonized way of campaigning, candidates are required to meet not more than 200 supporters, who must carefully observe social distance, sanitize or wash hands and put on their mask properly.
Museveni who had maintained this mode of campaign for the last two weeks, this week appeared to deviate as he decided to briefly address rallies in Busia and Bukedi.
“We are going to write to him, arguing him to remain on course of fighting the pandemic because if the COVID-19 guidelines are selective, our campaign guidelines are not. The moment you are nominated, you automatically become our candidate,” said Byabakama.
“These guidelines apply across the board, candidate Museveni is nominated by this commission and is required to follow all its guidelines and as we emphasize, even though the candidate him or herself is complaint but his or her campaign agents or supporters run against it, he or she will have to answer because as a leader we expect you to manage your people and remember they are aspiring to lead this nation,” he said.
Byabakama was addressing journalists after meeting Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in a three hour closed door meeting at the Commission headquarters in Kampala.
Kyagulanyi met the EC after police foiled his campaigns in Jinja and Kayunga.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Kyagulanyi said he had tasked the EC to reign in on the police and military and to tell them to stop harassing him.
“If Byabakama can no longer manage to organize this election, he and his team should just resign because things are happening but he is just keeping quiet,” he added.
Responding to this however, Byabakama, laughing out loud, said resignation had never crossed his mind.
“But to be sincere, the electoral roadmap started in 2018 and we are in the last stage before we go to polls so the small issues you ask me to resign? Impossible. We have done all our responsibilities as a Commission we laid out campaign guidelines but it is the candidates and their supporters who have failed to follow,”
On this note, the EC Boss blamed a section of candidates whom he said “Deliberately lack discipline” and this is why they have gone on with defying the covid-19 preventative harmonized form of campaigns.
“Our arrangement of a candidate meeting 200 people would now be working very well but right from the start during the nominations, some candidates as we directed to come with not more than 10 people blasted us, saying ‘Those are Byabakama’s words, we shall go with 100,” he noted.
To solve the current fracas between politicians and security forces, Byabakama told journalists that the Commission has resolved to organize a special meeting between the top leadership of security forces and the candidates so that they agree on a harmonized way of campaigning, which shall end up into a free, fair and peaceful polls.