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Uganda: EC Suspends Campaigns Kampala, Kabarole, Wakiso over COVID-19

The Electoral Commission (EC) has suspended campaign meetings in districts/cities categorised by Ministry of Health as having “high spread” of Covid-19. 

“From 26/12/20, no campaign meetings will be held in Mbarara, Kabarole, Luwero, Kasese, Masaka, Wakiso,” said EC Acting Spokesperson Paul Bukenya.

He said other restricted districts are Kabarole, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo, Kampala and Tororo.

Most candidates including President Yoweri Museveni and Robert Kyagulanyi were yet to hold physical campaign meetings in the capital city, Kampala.

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in recent weeks. The virus has so far killed 245 people in Uganda. 

Results of COVID-19 tests done on 24 December 2020 confirmed 446 new cases.

The cumulative confirmed cases are now 33,360.

On December 24, 442 contacts and alerts were confirmed in Kampala (353), Wakiso (26), Mukono (19), Soroti (8), Mbale (8), and Masaka (6).

The EC recently warned presidential candidates against holding holding campaign rallies to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

Opposition candidates refused to comply with EC’s warnings, saying the restrictions were aimed at sabotaging their campaigns to favour the incumbent.

According to the Ministry of Health, it is a violation of the Campaign Guidelines for a candidate and his/her agents to mobilize and/or encourage supporters to gather at campaign venues in large numbers as it contravenes The Public Health (Control of COVID-19) (Amendment No.3) Rules, 2020, issued on 9th November 2020, which provides that gatherings for purposes of political meetings should not exceed two hundred (200) persons.

FDC presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat said they were not consulted on this development.

He said he would continue campaigning irrespective of the new instructions from the EC.

“We have not been informed formally of suspension of campaigns in key districts/cities. We shall therefore treat the rumour below with the contempt it deserves,” said FDC in a brief statement.

”We are continuing with our campaigns in Masaka, and we shall also campaign in Jinja tomorrow, without fail.”

The Electoral Commission today Dec.26 commenced the packing of ballot papers and Declaration of Results Forms for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, ahead of polling on January 14, 2021.

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