NUP, ANT refuse Covid-19 guidelines EC sets for campaigns

There was divided opinion between the Electoral Commission and several presidential aspirants on some of the guidelines issued in managing the 2021 campaigns.

The EC had recently told aspirants that meetings with only 70 people will be allowed as one of the measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

On Thursday, EC met 10 presidential aspirants cleared for nomination next week to provide them with a checklist of requirements expected from them.

However, some of the representatives of the presidential aspirants, the meeting failed to agree on the 70 people that are required to attend campaign meetings.

“We told them, the number of people should be standardized but can be determined by the space available. If you go to a smaller venue, the number can even go below the required 70. The number can also go up if the venue is bigger,” ANT’s Gen. Mugisha Muntu told journalists.

He noted that in the meeting, the aspirants asked for a scientific explanation on some of the Coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Electoral Commission during the forthcoming campaigns.

National Unity Platform Secretary-General, David Lewis Rubongoya who represented Robert Kyagulanyi confirmed the disagreement during the meeting.

“We strongly rejected the idea of 70 people. They should look into some of these items. The Electoral Commission should be very careful over having a bad election. We want a peaceful election done through justice,” Rubongoya said.

The Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama says, the move to have the number to attend the meetings at 70 people was informed by an earlier decision to allow only 70 believers in places of worship.

“We borrowed from the places of worship and thought there is need to minimize numbers. We need to ask ourselves how far the actors have taken the responsibility without being reminded or compelled to ensure we have reasonable numbers,” Byabakama said.

Byabakama says that the number of 70 for supporters of will still stand because of the indiscipline by both candidates and their supporters.

“The moment experts from the Ministry of Health say there is need to observe these guidelines, we shall ask all actors to comply. We shall follow the number allowed for places of worship to ensure following the SOPs.”

However, all parties agreed to have another meeting after the presidential aspirants’ nominations.

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