KAMPALA – The Electoral Commission (EC) has asked police to stop blocking presidential candidates from holding their campaign meetings as scheduled.
According to EC chairman Justice Simon Byabakama, they have received complaints about Uganda Police blocking and/or disrupting candidates from accessing scheduled venues for purposes of conducting their respective campaign meetings.
This he says is illegal.
“In that regard, Presidential Candidates have a right to move and access the designated campaign venues, and hold their campaign meetings, in compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines as issued by the Electoral Commission,” Justice Byabakama wrote to Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth-Ochola on Thursday, 26 November 2020.
This comes as police and the army continue to block campaign meetings of Robert Kyagulanyi, Henry Tumukunde, Mugisha Muntu and Patrick Amuriat in various districts. The security forces keep blocking the candidates from their campaign venues to remote areas without populations.
The EC boss added that police actions have resulted in unnecessary confrontations, with physical clashes involving security officials and the candidates and their supporters, which has portrayed the conduct of this activity in a negative way.
“As you are aware, after the nomination exercise, Presidential Candidates harmonised their respective campaign programmes covering the entire country for the duration of the gazetted campaign period. The Commission has provided a copy of this programme, including changes as they are officially made, to all stakeholders including the Uganda Police Force,” he said.
“Please note that conducting campaigns as per the harmonized programme is a recognized activity under the Presidential Elections Act and the Roadmap for the 2021 General Elections,” he added.
Justice Byabakama said Uganda Police is required to ensure that this electoral activity takes place in a peaceful manner and in accordance with the law and guidelines.
“This is, therefore, to urge you to facilitate the smooth actualization of this electoral activity, and ensure that there is no disruption and/or such blocking of the harmonized campaign programme. Thank you for your co-operation,” he added.