The Electoral Commission has warned Police against blocking presidential candidates from holding their campaign meetings.
In a letter to the Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola, the EC chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama says they have received numerous complaints from presidential candidates about disruption and blocking their campaign meetings which he notes is wrong.
“This has resulted into unnecessary confrontations with physical clashes involving security officials and the candidates and their supporters which has portrayed the conduct of this activity in a negative way,” Byabakama says.
The EC chairperson explained that after nomination, presidential candidates presented their programs where they are supposed to campaign in all parts of the country and that this has to be covered in a gazette period of time.
Byabakama says that all stakeholders including police are aware of the said campaign program and therefore should not be interrupted.
“in that regard, presidential candidates have a right to move and access designated campaign venues, and hold their campaign meetings in compliance with standard operating procedures and guidelines as issued by the Electoral Commission.”
The EC chairman insisted that the role of the police force is to ensure the campaign process is smooth, in a peaceful manner and in accordance with the set guidelines.
Almost all presidential candidates, save for the incumbent, President Yoweri Museveni have had a fair share of police actions that has either arrested them, fired teargas to disperse their supporters or blocked them from going to a certain rally venue.
However, in defence, police have always insisted that their actions are meant to ensure the presidential candidates adhere to the guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.