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Opposition Candidates Pressure EC on New Voting Rules; Set to Meet Byabakama

Opposition presidential candidates have called on the Electoral Commission to rescind some of the recently introduced rules to be observed at polling stations during Thursday’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Commission last week announced ban on cameras and mobile phones inside polling stations.

The commission also banned members of the public from hanging around the polling stations during the voting period.

Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama said the new regulations were among others meant to ensure the legally protected privacy of the voters and preventing chaos at the polling stations.

The rules however have since been opposed by most of the presidential candidates.

At a joint press conference at Hotel Africana this morning, candidates Robert Kyagulanyi of NUP, Patrick Amuriat Oboi of the FDC and Gen Mugisha Muntu of ANT called upon the EC to relax these restrictions.

“The EC must understand that these cameras are our last line of defence. From our own experience, we know that we need them to capture those crucial moments. We know that we need those phones because we have to stay in touch our agents,” said FDC’s Patrick Oboi.

“The EC should not dissuade our people from protecting their vote. There is nothing in the law that stops you from staying in precincts of polling station.”

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On his part, Gen Mugisha Muntu said the EC has no legal basis to keep members of the public away from the polling station.

“The law says people must be 100 meters away from the polling station. The EC should only be enforcing this and ensuring that people are social-distancing,” Muntu said.

The candidates also called on the EC to provide them with serial numbers of all ballot kits for each polling station, which they said they hadn’t received to this date.

Gen Muntu revealed that that candidates were planning to meet with the EC Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama and address him on all these issues.

“The EC stands between a peaceful situation and a possible problem that none of us desire to see,” Muntu warned.

Meanwhile, the candidates also raised concern about the continuous arrests of their colleagues by security forces.

NUP’s Bobi Wine revealed that this morning, security forces raided his residence in Magere, arrested two of his gardeners and also beat up his guard.

Overnight, Bobi Wine said security forces also raided the home of one Davie Bwanika Lule and arrested him.

When reached for a comment, the Deputy UPDF spokesman Lt Col Deo Akiiki said such operations are led by the Police Force and not the army.

However, Police spokesman Fred Enanga said on phone that he was unaware of the said raids.

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