Kyadondo East Legislator and people power patron Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, has insisted that he will hold open-air rallies when the campaigns for 2021 General Election start contrary to the Electoral Commission’s directive.
“What we are going for are elections provided for within the law. We shall hold public rallies, talk to the people and move from district to another because there is no reason whatsoever for us to hold scientific elections,” Bobi Wine told journalists on Monday, June 22 at the People Power headquarters in Kamwokya, Kampala.
Bobi Wine’s revelation follows the announcement of a revised road map for the 2021 general elections issued by the Electoral Commission last week that banned public rallies, saying all aspirants are supposed to use existing media platforms such as radio and TV.
According to the electoral body, this move is in line with the government directives to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
However, Bobi Wine argued that countries with more cases and deaths due to Covid-19 are holding public gatherings and conducting normal campaigns.
“No Ugandan should be fooled into believing that Museveni is doing this for the safety of Ugandans. As we speak now, most urban places are filled with people going about their usual business uninterrupted. No social distancing, no nothing. Therefore, the Electoral Commission should not take Ugandans for fools,” he said.
According to Bobi Wine, the EC did not consult all the stakeholders when the regulations were passed, saying the electoral body only consulted President Museveni who he said is an interested party in the elections.
Last week, the EC spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa told journalists that they had consulted Museveni on other issues but not on how they should organise elections.
“We talked to the President only about the funding for the election and the offices of EC, not the elections roadmap,” Taremwa.
“Is this the first time we are releasing a road map? Do we always go around asking people whether we should release one? The answer is no. So if they go-ahead to conduct rallies putting Ugandans at danger of dying, there is another agency that is mandated with the enforcement of the law,” he added.
Bobi Wine stressed that; “What Museveni fears is the people. He was hiding behind the Public Order Management Act and now he’s hiding under Covid-19 to block us from reaching the people. Therefore, there is nothing like a scientific election, for us we’re going for a real election because a scientific election is not an election. The promise of our Constitution is a free and fair election.”
While giving his Sixteenth National address on the status of coronavirus in the country on Monday, June 22, President Museveni called upon all Ugandans to support the proposed virtual campaigns ahead of the 2021 General Election as a measure against the transmission of COVID-19.
Museveni said the EC was confronted with three questions of whether political candidates can continue to conduct campaigns without a vaccine or drug to treat coronavirus, whether to postpone the elections or if they can use a hybrid election for the safety of Ugandans.
The EC settled for the latter. “They opted for number three because the danger is in holding of public gatherings. If you eliminate those and messages of the contestants are passed on through the radios, TVs, socio-media, the gathering for the elections themselves can be safely managed with handwashing, and social distancing,” Museveni said.