What you need to know:
- This comes just hours after the Ministry of Heath on Friday confirmed 446 new Covid-19 infections as cases rose to 33,360 with 245 virus deaths.
Due to the surging Covid-19 infections and persistent violation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) by some political candidates, the Electoral Commission (EC) has suspended campaign meetings in Kampala and 11 other districts and cities in the country.
The EC spokesperson, Mr Paul Bukenya Saturday said campaign meetings in the said districts which are considered to be registering high spread of the virus had been suspended starting December 26, 2020 until further notice.
Other districts where campaign meetings have been banned are Mbarara, Kabarole, Luwero, Kasese, Masaka, Wakiso, Kabarole, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo and Tororo.
“The EC has suspended campaign meetings in districts/cities categorised by Ministry of Health as having high spread of Covid-19. From 26/12/20, no campaign meetings will be held in Mbarara, Kabarole, Luwero, Kasese, Masaka, Wakiso, Kabarole, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo, Kampala and Tororo,” Mr Bukenya tweeted.
However, FDC presidential candidate, Patrick Amuriat said the EC ban is President Museveni’s strategy to frustrate Opposition candidates who are yet to campaign in the listed districts.
“The FDC has not received any official communication. However, should this rumor turn out to be true then the Electoral Commission has to explain to us how they expect us to carry out our campaigns in these major towns. As far as we are concerned, tomorrow we are in Jinja and we will be in Tororo and Kampala on the days we are scheduled to be there. Mr Museveni knows that he's unpopular and therefore using the EC to hide behind Covid-19 and try to stop us from going to areas where we are supposed to be campaigning,” Mr Amuriat said.
National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi also reacted saying the regime is trying to frustrate his campaigns due to the “massive support” he has in some of the listed districts.
“What a coward Gen. Museveni is! Initially, they said we didn't have support upcountry. They have been surprised and scared to the teeth by the massive support we have received everywhere, including Museveni's backyard in Kiruhura and Kazo. They have done everything possible to block us, but people have still showed up. They have beaten the people, but the people have stood their ground. Now, they have suspended campaigns in districts where they think people will show up in tens of thousands! Of course they had to add some other districts in order to sanitise their panicky actions. In real sense, Museveni is so scared. He can't imagine what would happen if we stepped foot in Kampala, Wakiso and Masaka! He has done everything to block our visit to Jinja and I am not surprised it has been suspended too!” he said Saturday.
Museveni to end campaigns on December 30
According to President Museveni’s schedule, his campaigns are expected to end on December 30. After that, he will hold small meetings with party leaders until January 12 ahead of the January 14 general election.
Latest Covid-19 update
The EC issued the statement just hours before the Ministry of Heath confirmed 203 new Covid-19 infections as cases on Saturday rose to 33,563 with 245 virus deaths.
The ministry officials said 201 of the new cases are contacts and alerts from Kampala (121), Wakiso (40), Luwero (15), Mbarara (5), Tororo (3), Masaka (3), Kibuku (3), Mbale (2), Kyotera (2), Kiryandongo (2), Jinja (2), Katakwi (1), Isingiro (1), Kyenjojo (1).
Two of the new cases are truck drivers from Malaba.