The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has summoned officials from the Electoral Commission (EC) to explain how an online campaigning strategy will be conducted efficiently in all parts of the country.
Announcing a revised electoral roadmap Tuesday, the commission’s chairman Justice Simon Byabakama said campaigns for candidates at all levels in the 2021 general elections will have to be conducted through the media and online platforms as a way of controlling the spread of covid-19.
“If you want to lead people and care about their well being, you should avoid acts that put their lives in danger. Don’t expose them to the virus. That’s why mass rallies should be avoided,” he said.
“Campaigns will be conducted mainly through media.”
This announcement has however attracted criticism from various stakeholders ranging from politicians, civil society to election observers saying the move was not fair.
Parliament wondered why the issue was not first brought in the House for discussion since they are also stakeholders.
Kadaga also asked whether the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs was aware of the new developments announced by the EC.
“The Electoral Commission issued a revised programme for the elections and I do hope the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs will be able to formally inform the House about that programme,” she said.
Politicians on the opposition side have also asked the commission to explain how campaigns will be conducted without disruption of the military and state as it has always been when they are talking on some radio stations.
“If this was the way to go, Electoral Commission would have communicated it earlier and even embarked on sensitising people on how it will work because most of our people in villages don’t understand how to use this technology and even few have smartphones, most radios are owned by NRM cadres,” said Florence Namayanja, MP Bukoto County East.
Allan Sewanyana, MP Makindye Division West also said EC has a lot to do if the new strategy is to work. “There are a lot of people in the village who don’t even know what FaceBook or Whatsapp are, even here in our Parliament Zoom meetings are still challenging some MPs yet they are exposed, then what do you expect from people in deep villages who don’t even have electricity,” he said.
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