When asked whether the Police will not use this to deny candidate permission to hold campaign meetings, Byabakama said, this will not happen because during the time of elections, the Public Order Management Act which the police uses to regulate meetings, doesn’t apply.
EC Boss Justice Simon Byamakama Mugenyi
The Electoral Commission (EC) has said in it's guidelines issued today that a candidate must first get clearance
from the police in order for him or her to hold a campaign meeting.
to EC chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, this is to ensure that
guidelines issued by the ministry of health to combat the spread of the Coronavirus
are adhered too.
“Conveners of meetings should notify the police
authority in the respective areas on the identified venues which shall be
inspected for suitability in regard to compliance with the ministry of health guidelines,”
When asked whether the Police will not use this
to deny candidates permission to hold campaign meetings, Byabakama said, this
will not happen because during the time of elections, the Public Order Management
Act which the police uses to regulate meetings, doesn’t apply.
“When we talk about conveners to notify the police,
it’s not to give permission but to see that the avenues conform to the
guidelines because if you don’t do that, there is a lot of laxity and indiscipline
on the part of some of the political players. That’s why we need the police to
come in like they have always done even in normal campaigns. Otherwise we are
not putting too much power in the hands of the police,”said Byabakama.
Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) who are also known of interfering with
the work of the EC and deny candidates opportunity of talking to people especially
in upcountry, Byabakama said, they are going to talk to the minister of the Presidency,
Esther Mbayo to reign on them.
“RDCs are not above the law; they are subject to
the powers of the Commission. We are not denying the fact that they are the
heads of security in their regions; that is given, however we must not misinterpret
that to mean that you can interfere in a process that has been put in place to
ensure that voters and candidates get to know each other,” added Byabakama.
The EC today announced a raft of guidelines
that will be followed throughout the electoral cycle starting with the nomination,
campaigns and voting. The EC has provided for getting of nomination
papers online on top of issuing hard copies to aspiring presidential candidates
or their agents.
The guidelines says that both
aspiring candidates and agents, have the obligation to ensure compliance in the
wearing of masks, washing of hands, use of sanitizers; and observation of
social distancing, during the issuance and receipt of nomination papers, curing campaigns and on
election day. The EC will provide hand washing facilities such as soap,
sanitizers and water at all its points of operation.
nominations, the aspiring candidate, appearing in person, shall
be allowed into the nomination venue accompanied by only two
persons; the seconder
and proposer, who
shall be required to wear masks at all times.
The EC adds
that the aspirant shall only be allowed two
vehicles for purposes of nominations; and each vehicle should not carry more
than four persons,
driver inclusive. These vehicles
shall all bear a
police sticker authorizing
them to access the venue.
rule will not apply to the president who will be allowed all vehicles that are normally
part of his official fleet.
The EC has also
banned motor vehicle and motorcycle convoys and crowds of
supporters during the period designated for nominations. Other guidelines
include, all meeting venues to be
outdoor to enable the observance of the social distancing of at least two
ensure that they comply with the harmonized campaign meetings programmes. These campaign
meetings must not go
beyond 6.00 pm on each of the campaign days.
candidates are advised to desist from holding mass rallies; conducting
processions from one meeting to another. Similarly, convoys and crowds of
supporters shall not be allowed outside the designated meeting
venues,” said Byabakama.
On the use of
the media, all candidates shall conduct their engagements in
accordance with the programs submitted to the respective district returning
and harmonized by the respective media houses. Therefore, candidates
are advised to submit to the returning officer, a copy of their proposed
campaign meetings and media campaign programmes. The EC
however allowed candidates to use the Community Based Public
Address Systems commonly known
as bizindaalo and a program for their usage
should be communicated by the candidates to the respective returning
parliament and president are expected to take place on January 10 2021 while
nomination are to take place in October and November respectively.