The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) has written to the Electoral Commission giving proposals on how the 2021 elections can be conducted within the covid19 pandemic guidelines.
CCEDU wants the 2021 general elections to be conducted using scientific guidelines set by the World Health Organisation aimed at combating the Covid19 pandemic.
The proposals come at a time when the country is preparing to hold general elections in 2021.
However, it’s unclear how campaigns and elections will be conducted because the country is still battling with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recently, a section of legislators from the East African Legislative Assembly called for the postponement of the elections, so that the country is given ample time to fight the pandemic.
But, according to the Charity Ahimbisibwe, the national coordinator CCEDU, postponing elections will amount to an abrogation of Uganda’s Constitution.
“These elections can only be postponed if the Constitution is amended to allow the president to continue serving but as of now, his tenure is entrenched in the constitution, his term expires on May 12th, 2021 and elections should have been conducted before that time,” she said.
She said President Museveni should be aware of this because without proper elections, the extension of his tenure will be challenged and his legal team should have informed him about all these issues.
Ahimbisibwe said CCEDU has written to the EC proposing policy guidelines to be adopted on how elections should be conducted looking at the ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic among Ugandans during the elections.
“The situation is that there is a disease and both the voter and the candidate can fall sick. We have proposed the use of temperature guns, washing hands at the polling stations, keeping social distance, wearing masks, and developing a voter code of conduct, “she said.
Ahimbisibwe said the proposals also advocate for the use of technology and multimedia channels of communication during electoral activities to minimise the risks of physical contacts among the voters and electoral officials.
“You can’t have a campaign rally where you have about 5000 people. How are people going to conduct campaigns? That’s what we put in the framework. People can campaign online, they can use fliers, they can have small meetings of 5 to 10 people where social distance can easily be observed, use of zoom to consult and engage people,” she highlighted.
She, however, raised the challenge that not all voters can access voter information using online platforms and other traditional media like radios during their campaigns
If the proposal is adapted that means that the Electoral Commission will require more funding from the government
“They will acquire more money because the budget that had been given to them was constrained and it can’t afford to accommodate these new things that are coming,” she said.