The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Frank Tumwebaze has asked members of the opposition not to use Covid-19 as an escape route to advocate for the postponement of 2021 general elections.
The minister says the idea of postponing elections is not only illogical but also an escapist strategy of those wanting scapegoats.
“You can only postpone elections if you have an idea of how long the Covid-19 pandemic will take? What if it takes 10 years, do you also postpone indefinitely?” Tumwebaze tweeted this week.
Ever since the revised electoral roadmap was unveiled, there have been mixed reactions in the general public given its scientific mode of elections..
Last month, the Electoral Commission issued a revised road map of 2021 polls, banning mass campaigns to limit the spread of Coronavirus. According to the new road map, all campaigns will be conducted via media platforms such as radio, television channels, and social media channels.
“The Constitution commands us to hold elections within a specific time-frame. In those circumstances we must devise means amid challenges at hand to comply with constitutional requirements,” said Justice Simon Byabakama, EC chairperson.
He further also revealed that that no mass rallies will be allowed before the elections, and aspiring candidates will campaign using different media platforms.
“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 coronavirus. That’s why mass rallies should be avoided,” he said.
A good number of opposition politicians have since asked for the postponement of the elections saying the electoral rules and period which is marred by the pandemic is not favourable.
Asuman Basalirwa, chairman of the Inter-party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) said the new regulations were against the 1995 constitution.
“We want to ask them to explain how they are going to implement the regulations without necessarily amending the electoral laws,” Basalirwa said. “In our constitution, there’s nothing like a digitalized election. So, either we have the election the normal way or we don’t have it.”
Presidential hopeful Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde also recently accused EC of rushing to hold the 2021 elections amid the persistent Covid-19 pandemic.
“Everyone seeing that this is a pandemic. If it was not so, you would not have cared to shift the conduct of the election. If the situation is not normal, something else needs to be done. The pandemic is the reason we cannot carry out fully-fledged elections. What are we now rushing for,” asked Gen Tumukunde.
“This government is here because there was a mismanaged election? We don’t want a repeat of a mismanaged election. Let the Electoral Commission find importance in legitimacy and credibility of the election.”
In the same spirit Norbert Mao, the Democratic Party President also called for parliament to debate on the possibility of postponing elections.
“If the government insists that the coronavirus (Covid-19) is such a big threat, then parliament must start debating the possibility of pushing the elections to a further date,” said Mao.
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