The Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama has urged Police through his letter to the Inspector General of Police to facilitate the smooth actualization of the electoral process, without disruption and blocking of the harmonized campaign programme for the various candidates.
Over the time the Electoral Commission has been receiving complaints from some Presidential Candidates alleging that Uganda Police is blocking and disrupting candidates from accessing scheduled venues for purposes of conducting their respective campaign meetings.
Mr Byabakama says this has caused 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 during the media coverage.
After the nomination exercise last month, Presidential Candidates harmonised their respective campaign programmes covering the entire country for the duration of the gazetted campaign period.
The Commission says that it also provided a copy of the programme, including changes as they are officially made, to all stakeholders including the Uganda Police Force.
“Conducting campaigns as per the harmonized programme is a recognized activity under the Presidential Elections Act and the Roadmap for the 2021 General Elections.”
In that regard, Presidential Candidates have a right to move and access the designated campaign venues, and hold their campaign meetings, in compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines as issued by the Electoral Commission, he added.
Uganda Police is required to ensure that the electoral activities take place in a peaceful and meaningful manner and in accordance with the mother law and guidelines however it has become a norm for the law enforcers to block activities which are in the interest of the citizens as they are mandated to choose their next leaders in a democratic process.