KAMPALA – Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party ()has rubbished and described the digital campaigns suggested by the Electoral Commission as an abuse to democracy
Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the Party Secretary General said that as a party they have rejected the proposed digital campaigns by the EC ahead of the 2021 general elections because they abuse the pillars of constitutional democracy.
Mr Mafabi who doubles as the MP for Budadiri West said digital campaigns would ban freedom of assembly enshrined in Article 29(d) of the Constitution, offending the main pillars and foundation upon which constitutional democracy was built on in Uganda.
Mr Mafabi who was speaking to PML Daily on June 25 explained that the objective II of the Constitution of Uganda titled Democratic Principles states that, “The State shall be based on democratic principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance.”
“And when you look at the internet connections in the country, remoteness of the country, limitations by OTT [social media tax] this will mean more than three quarters of the population will be disfranchised, as a party we reject this in the strongest terms possible,” said Mr Nandala.
“And we would like other Ugandans to join us in this crusade as we urge the government to consider suspending elections for another time, “added Mr Mafabi.
He revealed that the EC should postpone the elections in accordance with Article 77  of the 1995 Uganda constitution.
He explained that Article 77(4) of the Constitution provides that where circumstances exist which would prevent a normal general election from being held, Parliament may, by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of all members of Parliament, extend the life of Parliament for a period not exceeding six months at a time.
Mr Rogers Musaalo, a lawyer and politician also said Scientific elections are alien to Uganda which is still struggling with high levels of illiteracy and lack of basic technological skills and that many people have only heard about Scientific elections in the developed countries with a developed system of technology.
He said with the preventive measures (masks, social distancing, and hand washing) in place employed very well, EC should allow Ugandans to be able to participate fully, physically or otherwise, in the electoral process.
“The 2021 “scientific election” is therefore not premised on scientific evidence, it is largely informed by alarmist tendencies epitomized by the Ministry of Health, either opportunistically or otherwise that has failed to guide EC based on our unique and favourable context of the pandemic rather, they continue to read from the generalized WHO’s script,” said Mr Musaalo.
Just last week, the EC launched a new road map for the 2021 general elections and the most controversial pronouncement was that the process, including campaigns and polling, will be “scientific”.
In his words, the EC Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama said that “mass rallies will not be allowed but campaigns will be conducted mainly through media”. This means that people will not be allowed to congregate in one area, irrespective of any preventive measures employed adding that the move was in line with President Museveni’s directives peddled at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Nandala said added further that Justice Simon Byamukama is handling election as a private matter when it is a constitutional matter to the level that his commission terminated registration of voters a year before election denying more than one million citizens an opportunity to determine who their next leaders should be.
He revealed that they are aware that president Museveni fears competition and fears assemblies and that that is why he had through the Police given himself the powers to grant permission to people intending to hold rallies which the Constitutional Court nullified.
He revealed that if Uganda went through scientific elections as proposed by EC, Justice Byabakama will have just handed over the mantle again to his boss, the incumbent ruling NRM sole candidate, 75 year old Yoweri Museveni.