Ugandan lawmakers rejected Wednesday a decision by the country’s Electoral Commission (EC) to conduct a “scientific election.”
The East African country is expected to go for general polls in February 2021, where veteran leader Yoweri Museveni is expected to seek a sixth term of office, extending his rule to 40 years until 2026.
The commission announced on June 16 a revised roadmap to the polls, where aspiring candidates will have to campaign ‘scientifically’ as a measure to fight the spread of Covid-19. In this plan, candidates for President, Parliament and Local Governments are expected to engage voters through televisions and radio stations, as well as via social media platforms.
MPs on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee during a meeting attended by with the country’s Justice minister Ephraim Kamuntu, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, and officials from EC said the ban would be to the disadvantage of the candidates participating in the polls.
The legislators also questioned the legality of the decision.
“If it is about a pandemic, then it is supposed to be the Ministry of Health, not the EC. If this election is discredited, nobody will remember the scientists you are basing on to ban rallies but it will be the EC, which you head,” Asuman Basalirwa, an MP said referring to the electoral commission.
EC Chairman Simon Byabakama told the committee that the decision to ban the mass political rallies and opting for the digital campaigns, was informed by thorough consultations the EC had with the Ministry of Health