The Electoral Commission has defended its decision on the mode of campaigns for the 2021 general elections.Announcing the revised electoral roadmap yesterday, the commission’s chairman Justice Simon Byabakama said campaigns for candidates at all levels will have to be conducted through the media.
Justice Byabakama however says the decision was based on the law.
This announcement has however attracted criticism from various stakeholders ranging from politicians, civil society to election observers.
Some of the key dates in the revised Roadmap are highlighted here below:
1. Political Party and Organisations to identify flag bearers, 22nd June – 21st July 2020
2. Deadline for resignation by public servants wishing to participate in Special Interest Groups (SIGs) Committees Elections, 29th June 2020
3. Nomination of Village SIGs (Older Persons, Persons with Disability and Youth) Committees Candidates (see attached detailed for progressive levels up to National), 5th August 2020
4. Deadline for establishment of academic papers with Electoral Commission by aspiring candidates for Local Government, 7th July 2020
5. Deadline for establishment of academic papers with Electoral Commission by aspiring candidates for Parliamentary Elections, 11th August 2020
6. Deadline for establishment of academic papers with Electoral Commission by aspiring candidates for Presidential Elections, 1st September 2020
7. Deadline for resignation by public servants aspiring to contest for Parliamentary Elections, 12th July 2020
8. Deadline for resignation by public servants aspiring to contest for Local Government Councils Elections, 6th August 2020
9. Deadline for resignation by public servants aspiring to contest for SIG Representative to Parliament, 7th August 2020
10. Deadline for resignation by public servants aspiring to contest for Presidential Elections, 31st October 2020
11. Period for nomination of candidates for Local Governments, including SIGs, 7th – 17th September 2020
12. Nomination of Candidates for Parliamentary Elections, 12th – 13th October 2020
13. Nomination of Candidates for Presidential Elections, 2nd – 3rd November 2020
14. Harmonisdation of Campaign Programme and Signing of Memorandum, 4th – 9th November 2020
15. Conduct of candidates’ campaigns digitally for Local Government, 28th September 2020 –8th January 2021
16. Conduct of candidates’ campaigns digitally for Parliamentary Elections, 20th October 2020 –8th January 2021
17. Conduct of candidates’ campaigns digitally for Presidential Elections, 10th November 2020 –8th January 2021
18. Polling period for General Elections (exact polling dates to be appointed in due course), 10th January – 8th February 2021
Furthermore, the Commission in consultation with the Ministry of Health considered and adopted Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to facilitate safe participation by all stakeholders in the electoral process. These emphasise safe practices, which have been customised to elections and electoral process include;
i. Practicing social distancing;
ii. Wearing face masks in public; and
iii. Regular washing of hands.
The Commission calls upon all stakeholders in the electoral process to take note of the various activities that will be conducted under the Roadmap, and especially the respective timelines, so that they participate accordingly.
The Commission further appeals to political parties and organisations as well as individuals aspiring to contest as independent candidates, to utilise the limited time provided in the revised Roadmap, and prepare to participate in the respective activities. More appeal goes to media owners to avail opportunities to all the candidates for fair coverage
The Electoral Commission advises political parties and aspiring independent candidates to ensure safe practices during primaries and other preparatory activities. Candidates, their agents and supporters are urged to strictly follow the guidelines on public meetings as issued by the Ministry of Health.
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