KAMPALA — Ugandans will go to polls on January 14, 2021, to elect their Members of Parliament, the Electoral Commission (EC) has announced.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, the EC chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama said November 9, 2020, to January 12, 2021, has been gazetted as campaign period for all nominated MP candidates, and that all campaigns should follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to guard against the spread of covid-19.
“The candidates and venue owners must ensure that the campaign/meeting venues are provided with hand washing facilities and sanitizers, and that the supporters attending the campaigns/meetings wear face masks at all time, while accessing and exiting the meeting venue,” he said.
According to Byabakama, candidates will be allowed to organise/hold campaign meetings, in a regulated manner, preferably outdoors, with limited attendance of a maximum of seventy (70) persons, to enable the observance of the 2-meters social distancing rule for the persons attending the meeting.
He, however, cautioned candidates against putting campaign material like posters and banners on road traffic signs, electricity power lines, or in a manner that endangers vehicle traffic and pedestrian movement.
Byabakama advised candidates to make use of community-based Public Address Systems between 7am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm, as per the campaign programme harmonised with the respective Returning Officers.
“Candidates are advised to identify suitable venues within their constituencies and notify the respective Returning Officers, who will conduct an inspection together with the Police and the District COVID-19 Taskforce to ensure the venue will enable observance of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health,” Justice Byabakama said.
According to the EC Chairman, the 2021 Local Government Council and Parliamentary election dates will run as follows:
• Election of Councillors for Older Persons to the Sub County/Town/Municipal Division – 11 January 2021
• Elections of Councillors for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to the Sub County/Town/Municipal Division – 11 January 2021
• Elections of Youth Representatives to the Sub County/Town/Municipal Division – 11 January 2021
• Election of Councillors for Older Persons to the Municipality/City Division – 12 January 2021
• Elections of Councillors for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to the Municipality/City Division – 12 January 2021
• Elections of Councillors for Youth to the Municipality/City Division – 12 January 2021
• Elections of Member of Parliament (Directly-elected MP and District Woman Representative to Parliament) – 14 January 2021
• National Conference for Election of Older Persons Representatives to Parliament – 17 and 18 January 2021
• National Conference for Election of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Representatives to Parliament – 17 and 18 January 2021
• National Conference for Election of Workers Representatives to Parliament – 17 and 18 January 2021
• Elections of District Local Government Councils: (District/City Chairpersons, Lord Mayor, Mayors, and Councillors) – 20 January 2021
• National Conference for Election of National Female Youths Representative to Parliament – 21 and 22 January 2021
• Elections of Municipality/City Division Chairpersons and Councillors – 25 January 2021
• Elections of Councillors for Older Persons to the District Local Government Councils – 27 January 2021 • Elections of Councillors for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to the District Local Government Councils – 27 January 2021
• Elections of Councillors for Youths to the District Local Government Councils – 27 January 2021
• Elections of Workers Representatives to District Local Government Councils – 27 January 2021
• Elections of UPDF Representatives to Parliament – 29 January 2021
• Regional Conferences for Election of Regional Youths Representatives to Parliament – 31 January and 01 February 2021
• Elections of Sub County/Town/Municipal Division Chairpersons and Councillors February – 03 2021
Last week, the electoral body concluded nominations for candidates aspiring for different positions on local government councils and Parliamentary levels, paving way for campaigns.
Relatedly, the EC has revealed that a total of 19 presidential aspirants have returned forms including signatures seconding them, and that only the NRM’s Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been verified and cleared by the election body.
Other aspirants who returned forms are Patrick Oboi Amuriat (Forum for Democratic Change), Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu (Alliance for National Transformation), Charles Bbaale from Ecological Party of Uganda (EPU), Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde, Mr. Joseph Kiiza Kabuleta and Ms. Elizabeth Lugudde-Katwe on the independent ticket.
Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, is another presidential aspirant who has since returned signatures for verification under the National Unity Platform (NUP) party.
According to Mr. Paul Bukenya, the EC acting spokesperson, only 100 signatures from at least 98 districts are considered for verification.
“It is good that some people are presenting more signatures than the ones required but that plays to their advantage because when one presents only 100 signatures and we find that three do not qualify, then you have to go back to the district to look for them. That can be tedious than collecting signatures at once,” Mr. Bukenya said.
Citing Section 21(1) of the Presidential Elections Act, the Electoral Commission chairperson noted that the polling date for the president will be announced after nomination of candidates on November, 2 and 3, 2020.
Byabakama said the presidential nomination exercise will be conducted at Kyambogo University Sports Grounds.
Africa Tembelea understands that there are over 17.7 million voters on the updated voters’ roll published by EC including old and new voters.
Statistics published by the electoral body show that elections will take place at 34,344 polling stations across the country.