Byabakama: We’ll Cancel Campaign Programmes of Defiant Candidates

The Electoral Commission (EC) has threatened cancel the campaign programmes of presidential candidates accused of flouting COVID-19 prevention guidelines, Chimp Corps report.

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“The Commission warns all candidates that continued violation of the Guidelines may attract cancellation of the Campaign Programme,” said EC chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama in a media statement this Thursday.

“We reiterate that it is a violation of the Campaign Guidelines for a candidate and his/her agents to mobilize and/or encourage supporters to gather at campaign venues in large numbers in contravention of The Public Health (Control of COVID-19) (Amendment No.3) Rules, 2020, issued on 9th November 2020, which provides that gatherings for purposes of political meetings should not exceed two hundred (200) persons,” he added.

The development comes high on the heels of increased violence in the country following the arrest of presidential candidates Patrick Amuriat and Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.

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Police fired water cannon, bullets and tear gas at brick-throwing protesters in some of the most widespread and violent clashes in more than five years.

Running battles in different parts of the country especially Jinja, Mukono, Gulu and Lira followed weeks of growing tension between the opposition and government over the conduct of campaigns which police say will increase the spread of Coronavirus.

Several people were killed in the violence.

The EC said it had already taken up the matter of the arrest of the Candidates with the relevant authorities.

“Accordingly, we appeal to the public to remain calm and restrain from engaging in acts of lawlessness, that may result in destruction of property and loss of life, as already witnessed,” said Byabakama.

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The Commission further said presidential candidates Mugisha Muntu and Henry Tumukunde who suspended their campaign programmes as a result of the arrest of Kyagulanyi and Amuriat to “officially address the changes in their respective campaign programmes to the Electoral Commission.”

Earlier today, President Museveni warned rioters of serious consequences, saying, “you are going to regret.”

He added: “Those who have been attacking NRM people in Kampala very soon will lose the appetite to the extent that they will see abandoned party shirts and will not even touch them. It’s because they have entered an area of fighting which we know very well,”

The opposition accuse government of double standards, saying singer Bebe Cool continues to hold processions of NRM supporters in Northern Uganda.

Bebe Cool today announced his team would start door-to-door campaigns to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

“We wish to urge candidates and their supporters to always observe the SOPs that were put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Byabakama.

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