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Kyotera Youth Activists Ask EC to Reconsider 'Scientific' Campaigns

A revised election roadmap for the 2021 general elections which was recently released by the Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi shows that candidates will only be allowed to use digital tools to mobilise their electorate.

Audio 5

A group of youths from Kyotera and Rakai districts have petitioned the Electoral Commission protesting plans to conduct political campaigns that are void of holding mass rallies and gatherings. 

A revised election roadmap for the 2021 general elections which was recently released by the Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi shows that candidates will only be allowed to use digital tools to mobilise their electorate. This is intended to limit person-to-person interaction and mass gatherings through which the coronavirus disease spreads.

However, the youthful political activists are protesting this mode of campaigning, arguing that it limits their contemporaries’ effective participation in the election process.

Andrew Mugonza, the Democratic Party-DP youths wing coordinator for Kyotera district asked the Electoral Commission to reconsider the position of what has been termed 'scientific elections' for the sake of having equitable participation of all stakeholders. Mugonza says that the process of having campaigns over the electronic platforms will lock out many intending youths from contesting for leadership.

The youths are also demanding that the Electoral Commission scraps off nomination fees on elective positions for Special Interest Groups to enable candidates fully participate in the process with ease.  

//Cue in; “this revised roadmap… 

Cue out...nomination fees.”//  

Luganda//Cue in; “ekiwandiiko kino…

Cue out; ….ensonga zino tuziweeyo.”// 

Mugonza argues that the proposed campaign model does not espouse the democratic practices which the principles of elections are premised.  

//Cue in: “Justice Byabakama… 

Cue out; ….for an election.”// 

Luganda //Cue in: “Ffe banna Kyotera….  

Cue out; ….bulungi banna Uganda.”//

Mansour Kabanda, the UYD Chairperson for Rakai district fears that the scientific campaigning model will disadvantage the rural communities where social media is a privilege to very few people.

Kabanda says that many youth politicians cannot afford the expenses of campaign rallies, and often take advantage of platforms of other directly elected candidates which will not be possible in the scientific campaigns. He argues that many youths are going to be locked out of the process despite harbouring leadership intentions and intellectual capabilities.

//Cue in; “abali mu kyalo… 

Cue out….okuviiramu awo.”//

The demands by the youth activists come in the wake of criticism of the retired Masaka Catholic Diocesan Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa against the idea of organizing scientific election in the country.

While leading his Episcopate Silver Jubilee mass at Kitovu Cathedral on Wednesday, Bishop Kaggwa demanded the elections are postponed for at least two years to enable the country to heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, after which Ugandans can freely participate in the process of choosing leaders of their choice. 

Paul Bukenya, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Electoral Commission indicates that people are free to make any suggestions to the process, urging them to make their proposal formal.