KAMPALA — Most Ugandans want the 2021 General Election postponed, a new survey has shown.
This survey, conducted in July delivers data on both public opinion and self-reported behaviour concerning key issues related to the impact of Covid-19 in Uganda, and the results show the public perceptions as in view of the disruptions created by the pandemic.
The Electoral Commission has announced a revised roadmap that bars public rallies over coronavirus. The roadmap also gives the candidates less time to campaign, with presidential aspirants having less than two months to traverse the whole country ahead of the January/February elections.
And according to a survey conducted by Whitehead Communications in the month of July, 52% of respondents believe that the next election should be postponed. Only 43% of respondents believe that the Government should hold the election as scheduled.
5% selected “other” and provided open-ended responses including: Don’t know or don’t care, Hold a normal, non-scientific election, Monitor the Covid-19 situation and decide later if elections are safe and Elections are illegitimate and therefore useless and a waste of resources
64% of respondents disapprove or strongly disapprove of a “scientific election”.
“On the whole, Ugandans do not favour the idea of a “scientific election”, as only 6% strongly approve of the plan, 10% approve, 12% neither approve nor disapprove / not sure, 20% disapprove and 44% strongly disapprove,” the survey shows.
“Strong disapproval is more common in the area of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono (49%) than upcountry (34%). 9% do not understand what a “scientific election” means, and this does not vary significantly depending on demographics,” the survey adds.
The results of the survey come as opposition politicians continue to oppose the scientific roadmap.
Predidential Aspirant, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde is among those that have expressed dissatisfaction about the proposed “scientific campaigns”wondering why the EC was in a hurry to hold an election that he said is against the Constitution.
“Everyone seeing that this is a pandemic. If it was not so, you would not have cared to shift the conduct of the election. If the situation is not normal, something else needs to be done. The pandemic is the reason we cannot carry out fully-fledged elections. What are we now rushing for,” he told journalists last month.
Gen Tumukunde argued that even conducting a scientific election creates more problems than it solves.
“Essentially, you can’t change the method of campaigning without changing the law. This is not a normal situation. If it was one, there would not be a need to conduct campaigns in such a manner. If it is an abnormal situation, the law says something about it,” he said.
FDC stalwart Dr. Kizza Besigye and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine have all dismissed the idea of the scientific election.
Mr. Mr. Kyagulanyi insists he will hold open air rallies when the campaigns for 2021 general elections start despite the Electoral Commission’s directive for candidates to use media due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
“What we are going for are the elections provided for within the law. We shall hold public rallies, talk to the people and move from district to another because there is no reason whatsoever for us to hold scientific elections,”Bobi Wine told journalists last month.
Section 21 (2) of the Presidential elections Act 2005 that talks about the time and manner of campaigns and candidate meetings programme stipulates: “(2). Every candidate may hold individual public campaign meetings in any part of Uganda in accordance with any existing law.”
Whitehead Communications gathered 1,353 responses – or 1,182 after data cleaning – between the 6th and 15th of July, 2020, using a mixed methodology collecting results from a purposive sample both online and through phone calls.
According to the pollster, the report is intended to serve as a resource to decision-makers and the general public by providing research-based insights to inform public discussion and policy in response to Covid-19.
This survey, conducted in July delivers data on both public opinion and self-reported behaviour concerning key issues related to the impact of Covid-19 in Uganda.
Whitehead Communications gathered 1,353 responses – or 1,182 after data cleaning – between the 6th and 15th of July, 2020, using a mixed methodology collecting results from a purposive sample both online and through phone calls. This report is intended to serve as a resource to decision-makers and the general public by providing research-based insights to inform public discussion and policy in response to Covid-19.