Presidential candidates have pointed out to the Electoral Commission that the 2 months campaign period set is insufficient for them to traverse the 146 districts of Uganda.
The candidates and their representatives were on Thursday meeting with the Electoral Commission to harmonize the campaign schedule.
On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission announced that campaigns will begin on November 9, 2020 and end on January 12, 2021 and then voting will take place on January 14, 2021.
Nancy Kalembe Linda, an independent presidential candidate told reporters after the meeting with EC that the 2 months campaign period is insufficient, given that mass rallies are banned due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We would have needed more time especially that these meetings are going to be much smaller than what is ordinarily expected. Before, you were allowed to make a meeting of as many as a million people if you had the space. Now, it is only 70 people, which means that with all the districts that are available (146) and you are only having 70 people per district, the 60 days will not be enough to cover all the districts,” she said.
Alex Luganda, the official agent of Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde and deputy chief of staff of Tumukunde’s campaign bureau decried not only limited campaign period but also ban on mass rallies.
“Our reasoning as Gen Tumukunde team is that this campaign plan was based on the fact that we had public rallies and campaigns then, which are not going to happen now because initially, by 2016 and the other campaigns before, you would have mammoth crowds following one candidate. Right now, we are engaging in bedroom politics where you have 70 people and you are in a smaller area,” Luganda said.
As law abiding citizens, he said, they have complied with the Electoral Commission guidelines and submitted their campaign schedule to the Commission.
Luganda also raised concern over the curfew and asked the Electoral Commission to engage the security agencies to allow candidates and their teams travel at night given that there is little time to cover all the 146 districts.
“The other concern is in respect to curfew and we have requested the Electoral Commission to engage the security because we know that with 146 districts and about 60 days to campaign, we have to cover about 3 or 4 districts in a day. And that would necessitate traveling at night.”
“By the time you finish your campaign at 6pm, you must prepare to set and go and sleep in the next district. That may involve moving beyond the curfew time. So, we are requesting for a waiver for candidates in particular and their teams to be permitted to move outside the curfew time,” Luganda said.
The Commission, he said, promised to write back to them after harmonizing campaign schedules for all candidates to make sure they don’t coincide in various districts where they will be campaigning.