The Uganda Police Force has asked the Electoral Commission (EC) to come out and punish presidential candidates that violate Covid-19 guidelines while conducting their campaigns.
Addressing the media on Friday, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said the responsibility to see that candidates abide by the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that were put in place is to the Security agencies in the country and the EC. However, it seems the commission is doing less and leaving the bigger work to security operatives.
“The moment EC comes out and starts punishing these stubborn candidates, we may see some changes. In other countries the moment you go against the regulations put by the body governing elections, you are suspended for some two days not campaigning, and if you continue doing so, you are disqualified,” he said.
Enanga added that a candidate to be suspended is a big loss, and it can force him or her to abide by the SOPs and in any case, if a candidate is disqualified it will make others do what is required.
He noted that only a few presidential candidates are adhering to the SOPs and these include the Incumbent from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Gen Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni, Gen Mugisha Muntu from the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), Norbert Mao from Democratic Party (DP) and independents like Nancy Kalembe and Pr. Fred Mwesigye.
However, candidates like Robert Kyagulanyi from National Unity Platform (NUP), Patrick Amuriat Oboi from Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Gen Hanry Tumukunde have intentionally violated the SOPs and have always clashed with the security.
“It’s really unfortunate because the EC gave these guidelines at the very beginning but we still see candidates and some political groups hosting mass mobilization and the most unfortunate part of this, is that all people are not wearing masks even the candidates,” said Enanga.
Police’s request come at a time when EC has also called all presidential candidates to find out a single solution against mass gatherings which were banned in a bid to prevent the spreading of Covid-19.
“Soon we are going to call these candidates and talk with them, show them the dangers of holding mass gathering amidst the outbreak of Covid-19. Even Ugandans must know that as long as they enjoy these mass gatherings they must know that we have a common enemy Covid-19 which we must avoid,” said Paul Bukenya, the EC spokesperson.
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