The Electoral Commission has said it has asked for an additional shs54 billion to cater for the revised 2021 general election program following the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday, Electoral Commission Secretary, Sam Rwakoojo, said because of the pandemic, they will have to put in place new measures to avoid the spread of the virus and this, he said has pushed up their budget.
“The increment is brought about by the Covid-19 -measures we have to apply. We have to make sure people go for campaigns, come for voting, train polling officials, to have temperature taken, hands washed, hands sanitized,”Rwakoojo said.
He explained that they have started discussions with the Ministry of Finance to get the extra shs54 billion to cater for the new measures.
The Electoral Commission chairperson explained that the latest move that includes a ban on political rallies in favour of media is inevitable because of the current Coronavirus pandemic.
“All campaigns have to be conducted in that manner because some of our political actors are undisciplined. The safest way is to say no to gatherings,” Justice Simon Byabakama said.
He was however quick to say that in case experts advise otherwise in regards the prevalence of the virus, they can always change.
“These measures are not cast in stone and if experts tell us we can resume live as normal as has been the case, we shall inform candidates on what to do.”
The Electoral Commission boss said because of the Coronavirus lockdown announced in March, the 2021 polls roadmap has been greatly affected and the need for a revision.
“The Electoral Commission postponed the activities under the roadmap, in response to measures introduced by Government to prevent the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. This is because electoral activities involve public gatherings and hence pose high COVID-19 risk of person-to-person and object-to-person transmissions.”
He added, “As a result of the postponement, the commission has lost three months of critical Roadmap activities..
He noted that the postponement of roadmap activities also caused inconvenience to various stakeholders in the electoral process
Justice Simon Byabakama explained that the revised program caters for nominations, campaigns and polling for the various elective positions.
June 22- July 21, 2020; Political parties identify their flag bearers
July, 7,2020; Deadline for academic papers with Electoral Commission for aspiring candidates for local government
August11, 2020: Deadline for academic papers with Electoral Commission for parliamentary election candidates
September 1, 2020; Deadline for academic papers for presidential candidates
July 12, 2020; Deadline for resignation by public servants who want to contest for parliamentary elections
August 6,2020; Deadline for resignation by public servants who want to contest for local government.
October 31, 2020; Deadline for resignation by public servants aspiring to contest for presidential elections.
October 12- 13, 2020; Nomination of candidates for parliamentary elections.
November 2– 3, 2020; Nomination for candidates for presidential elections.
September 28, 2020; January , 8,2021- Conduct of campaigns digitally for Local Government .
October 20, 2020- January,8, 2021; Conduct of digital campaigns for parliamentary elections.
November, 10, 2020 to January,8, 2021; Conduct of digital campaigns for presidential elections.
January, 10, 2021 – February ,8,2021; Polling period for general elections (exact polling dates to be appointed in due course)