By Exposed Uganda
The Electoral Commission has Thursday October 22, 2020 released a revised Roadmap for the 2020/2021 General Election, in which it has set new dates for election of Members of Parliament and Local Government positions.
This was revealed by the E.C Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama in a statement issued at the Commission’s headquarters, in which he revealed that so far 19 candidates have expressed their interest to contest for the presidency and out of these, only President Yoweri Museveni has since been cleared and verified.
Other candidates who include Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, who is contesting on National Unity Platform (NUP) ticket, Gen. Mugisha Muntu, contesting on Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), Gen. Henry Tumukunde, who is contesting as an Independent, and several others have not yet been verified as cleared to contest for President.
However, what has raised eyebrows amongst many political observers and what Justice Byabakama didn’t explain is how one of the Presidential Candidates can be cleared and verified without being nominated first.
Here below is Justice Byabakama’s statement in part;
Today, the Commission will update you on the progress of the implementation of the Roadmap for General Elections, 2020/2021 as follows:
- Status of Elections of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) Committees
The Electoral Commission concluded the conduct of elections of SIGs (Older Persons, Persons with Disabilities and Youth) Committees from the Village to the District/City level.
The Commission appreciates all stakeholders in the electoral process for their participation which enabled successful organisation and conduct of the SIGs Committees Elections.
- Conclusion of Nominations of Candidates for Parliamentary and Local Government Councils Elections and Commencement of Campaign Period
The Electoral Commission conducted the nomination of candidates for Local Government Councils and Parliamentary Elections, from 21st September to 5th October and on 15th and 16th October 2021, respectively.
The nomination exercise attracted a high number of aspirants who include party-sponsored candidates and independents. The Commission is compiling the details of all nominated candidates and will publish the results in due course.
Following the conclusion of the above nomination exercises, the Commission has appointed the periods indicated in the table below, for the purpose of conducting candidates’ campaign meetings for Parliamentary and Local Government Councils Elections, 2021.
The Electoral Commission urges all nominated candidates, their agents, supporters and the general public to carefully observe the following guidelines for this campaign period:
- Campaigns shall be conducted between 7.00 am and 6.00 pm; and in accordance with the harmonized candidates’ campaign programme;
- Candidates and their agents shall not use or publish any language or defamatory words, which incite public disorder, hatred, violence or which threatens war;
- In accordance with the measures and guidelines put in place by the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Electoral Commission to prevent and combat person-to-person, person-to-object and object-to-person spread of the COVID-19 during the conduct of election activities, processions and public/mass rallies remain banned;
- Candidates will, however, be allowed to organise/hold campaign meetings, in a regulated manner, preferably outdoors, with limited attendance of a maximum of seventy (70) persons, to enable the observance of the 2-meters social distancing rule for the persons attending the meeting.
The candidates and venue owners must ensure that the campaign/meeting venues are provided with hand washing facilities and sanitizers, and that the supporters attending the campaigns/meetings wear face masks at all time, while accessing and exiting the meeting venue;
- Candidates are advised to identify suitable venues within their constituencies and notify the respective Returning Officers, who will conduct an inspection together with the Police and the District COVID-19 Taskforce to ensure the venue will enable observance of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health;
- Candidates and their agents are advised to use non-contact means of communication to interact with the electorate. These include fliers, leaflets, brochures, posters, billboards and banners; radio and television announcements and talk shows; short messaging services (SMS), voice messaging, and new digital media platforms and websites;
- Candidates who use posters are warned against putting them (campaign posters) on road traffic signs. Similarly, candidates who use banners are strongly warned against hanging them (campaign banners) on electricity power lines, or in a manner that endangers vehicular traffic and pedestrian movement.
Any campaign materials that are wrongly placed will be removed by the relevant Council authorities and Police.
- Candidates may also use the community-based Public Address Systems (kizindaalo) between 7:00am-9:00am and 4:00pm-6:00pm, as per the campaign programme harmonised with the respective Returning Officers;
- Appointment of Polling Dates for Parliamentary and Local Government Councils Elections, 2021
Following the conclusion of nomination of candidates, and the harmonization of campaign programmes by the Electoral Commission together with the candidates, the Electoral Commission has, in line with Section 18(1)(a) of the Parliamentary Elections Act and Section 107 of the Local Government Act, appointed polling dates for the various elective positions as follows:
- Preparations for Nomination of Candidates for Presidential Elections
As earlier informed, the Electoral Commission appointed Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd November 2020 as the dates for nomination of candidates for Presidential Elections, 2021.
The nomination exercise will be conducted at Kyambogo University Sports Grounds, starting at 9:00am and ending at 5pm on each of the appointed dates.
The Commission will limit access to the nomination venue, in compliance with Government/Ministry of Health Guidelines and EC Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The aspiring candidate, shall be allowed into the nomination venue accompanied by not more than ten (10) persons (including the candidate).
The particulars of persons accompanying the aspirant shall be submitted to the Commission in advance.
Aspiring candidates have been advised to use only three (3) vehicles for purposes of his/her nominations; and each vehicle should not carry more than four (4) persons, driver inclusive. Each of the vehicles shall bear a police sticker.
For the avoidance of doubt, the incumbent President who is also a candidate shall use such facilities as are ordinarily attached to his office. This is in line with Section 27(2) of the Presidential Elections Act.
Meanwhile, as you are already aware, the Commission made available nomination forms and supporter forms to aspiring candidates two months ago. At least eighty-seven (87) aspirants have collected forms expressing interest to contest.
Section 10(b) of the Presidential Elections Act provides that a Presidential candidate’s nomination shall be supported by not less than one hundred (100) persons who are registered voters, from not less than ninety-eight (98) districts, which form two thirds (2/3) of all the districts of Uganda.
Accordingly, the Commission set up a team to handle the verification of supporters for nomination of candidates for the 2021 Presidential Elections.
As at 22nd October 2020, the following aspirants have submitted their supporter forms for verification as:
Presidential aspirants who have attained the verified supporters from the required ninety-eight (98) districts/cities will be issued with a Certificate of Compliance which they will present to the Returning Officer on nomination day.
Meanwhile, aspiring candidates have also been advised to book time in advance on any of the gazetted dates, that is, Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd November 2020, in order to ensure a smooth nomination exercise.
In accordance with Section 21(1) of the Presidential Elections Act, the Commission will appoint and gazette campaign period and polling date after the nomination exercise.
The Electoral Commission wishes to extend its appreciation to all political parties and organisation, and all stakeholders who participated in the concluded nomination exercises.
The Commission further appeals to all stakeholders in the electoral process to carefully study the guidelines for the campaign period and to conduct themselves in accordance with the measures issued by the Commission to safeguard all those participating in the electoral process from the risk of contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus.
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