Elections observers in Uganda have asked the Electoral Commission to suspend the 2021 polls saying it is impossible to have meaningful elections without violating COVID-19 regulations.
Speaking on NBS TV, Charity Ahimbisibwe, the Executive Director of the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy (CCEDU) said:
“It’s unfortunate that a number of Ugandans have lost lives. Elections are never supposed to be about death. These campaigns should be suspended if it means securing the lives of Ugandans,” she said.
The calls for suspension of the 2021 polls come in the wake of the death of more than 30 people in Wednesday’s pro-Bobi Wine protests in Kampala.
The riots that swept different parts of Uganda came as a result of the arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu the presidential flag bearer for the National Unity Platform (NUP) party in the 2021 polls that are scheduled for Jan 14, 2021.
Kyagulanyi was arrested in Luuka district on Tuesday for allegedly violating COVID-19 regulations against the gathering crowds during the current political campaigns.
The uprisings were however violently suppressed by the police and the army and ended with the death of at least 30 people, mostly in Kampala.
Crispy Kaheru, an Independent Elections Expert, strongly argues that the ongoing irregularities may ultimately make it difficult to ascertain the credibility of the electoral process.
“It’s prudent that the Electoral Commission suspends physical campaigns with immediate effect until a point when everybody regains full control of the electoral environment. Life is more precious than elections,” he noted.
Kaheru added: “Stakeholders including politicians, supporters, security agencies and non-state actors should remain alive to the reality that this is an election and not a war. They each must act responsibly.”
He stressed that the ongoing violence across the country is a clear indicator that Uganda has already failed the test of a scientific election amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.