2021 ELECTIONS’ PREPARATIONS EC INSISTS ON A HYBRID PROCESS FOR FEAR OF ALTERING THE CONSTITUTION

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Despite numerous appeals from different stakeholders seeking postponement of the forthcoming general elections, the Electoral commission has remained adamant insisting that this would require alteration of the constitution.

Electoral commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama allays stakeholders’ fears for the hybrid elections saying this arrangement takes into consideration the right for Ugandans to vote as well as their right to be shielded against coronavirus.

This was during a stakeholders’ meeting organized by the UNDP in collaboration with the Electoral commission.

The electoral commission has held a stakeholders’ meeting purposely to allay fears of key stakeholders in the electoral process ahead of the 2021 general elections.

Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama says due to the unprecedented times caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the commission has had to settle for a hybrid electoral process.

During the meeting that was held at Protea Hotel in Kampala, the EC issued guidelines for all the electoral activities with strict observance of the standard Operating Procedures.

In the new guidelines, the Electoral Commission intends to ensure

Availability of a downloadable nomination form to accommodate for a contactless process though hard copies will remain in place.

Civic education and all sensitization materials will be via print and electronic media as opposed to community gatherings.

No candidate will be allowed to have door to door campaigns as they are feared to fuel the spread of the pandemic which contravenes the objectives of the hybrid electoral process.

However to ably implement this, the EC is in dire need for over 350,000 support staff to act as poling agents and health works to monitor the COVID-19 guidelines among others.

After listening to these presentations, it was time for the political parties’ representatives of civil society organizations to give their input.

Also attending the meeting was Justice James Ogola who accused the EC for trying to respect the constitution in an abnormal situation, something that he says denies the populace of their right to be participatory in the whole process. The meeting also attracted the attention of the UNDP’s country Representative Elsie Attafuah and the UN Resident Coordinator.

Reported by Kimono Dorcus and Lubwama Nasir

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