Uganda's early campaign frenzy; A threat to democracy?

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Uganda's early campaign frenzy; A threat to democracy?
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The political landscape in Uganda is heating up, with early campaigns for the 2026 general elections already in full swing.

While some argue that early campaigns demonstrate democratic enthusiasm, others warn that it poses a significant threat to the country's electoral process.

Political parties and individual aspirants are openly flouting electoral guidelines, holding rallies and distributing campaign materials long before the official campaign period.

The Electoral Commission, tasked with overseeing the process, seems powerless to enforce its own regulations.

Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, seeking to extend his 38-year rule, has a significant head start over his opponents.

His ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has already launched a nationwide campaign, leveraging state resources and machinery to promote their candidate.

Opposition parties and civil society organizations are crying foul, accusing the NRM of abusing its power and undermining the electoral process.

They argue that early campaigns favor the incumbent and distort the level playing field essential for free and fair elections.

The Electoral Commission faces criticism for its inaction in the face of blatant violations. Its inability to enforce its own guidelines has raised questions about its independence and impartiality.

However it's important to note that early campaigns can lead to voter fatigue and apathy, confusion among voters, uneven playing field favoring incumbents, undermining the credibility of the election and polarization of the electorate

As Uganda hurtles toward the 2026 elections, it is crucial that all stakeholders respect the electoral guidelines and ensure a level playing field for all candidates.

The Electoral Commission must assert its independence and enforce its regulations to guarantee a free and fair election.

Anything less risks undermining Uganda's democratic progress.

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