The Alliance for National Transformation has petitioned the Electoral Commission over the 2021 election road map released last week.
On Tuesday, the Electoral Commission said campaigns for the forthcoming elections will be carried out on radios, TVs and social media as a measure to observe the ministry of Health guidelines on preventing the spread of Coronavirus.
This has since been dubbed the “scientific” campaigns.
Addressing journalists on Monday, ANT spokesperson, Wilberforce Seryazi said some issues need to be clarified by the Electoral Commission emanating from the road map released on Tuesday.
“We need clarification on the digital mode of campaigns. The biggest population may not have access to digital facilities like TVs, radios, and social media. If we go into that kind of campaign, there is a possibility of disfranchising a huge number of electorates who can’t access digital platforms,” Sseryazi said.
The Alliance for National Transformation spokesperson said the cost of carrying out campaigns using digital platforms as suggested by the Electoral Commission for the forthcoming polls will be too high and not many people will be able to afford it.
“It would mean, that we have to pay for radio or TV air time and data which could be quite heavy on candidates. The number of candidates from local government through parliamentary and presidency will be so huge that the available digital platforms may not be able to accommodate all of them. We need the Electoral Commission to clarify all these issues.”
Sseryazi explained that these issues would need answers from the Electoral Commission, but noted they have also suggested some ideas on how to conduct the forthcoming polls.
“We suggested that we can relax on guidelines so that candidates can access people in controlled environments like town hall meetings with a specific number of people as long as they adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines.”
One of our reasoning is that the government has gone ahead to procure masks for the population. The purpose of it is to allow people to interact safely. The government should have the duty to safeguard people in an election but also be able to guarantee their political rights to vote and access voters,” he noted.
When contacted for a comment, Electoral Commission spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa said he has is not aware of the petition by Alliance for National Transformation.
“I have not seen the letter myself but I will have to check,” Taremwa told the Nile Post on phone.
Not okay with scientific campaigns
The Alliance for National Transformation told journalists that whereas they have written to the Electoral Commission over the scientific campaigns, it is not automatic that they are okay with the same.
“The guidelines put forward by the Electoral Commission are not born out of a deep consultative process, they are not proportional to the danger foreseen in case they allow people to do participate in particular elements of a normal campaign process like the door to door campaigns and town hall meetings,” said the deputy spokesperson for ANT, Sulaiman Kakaire.
“Whereas it is necessary(to put guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID), let us try to find a way of consulting each other. The adopted procedure by EC to carry out campaigns through the media has its inherent constraints,” Kakaire said.
Gen.Mugisha Muntu’s Alliance for National Transformation party has joined a list of many opposition parties that have publicly protested against the scientific campaigns as announced by the Electoral Commission last week.
Former journalist turned political commentator, Joseph Kabuleta challenged the same in the High Court.