Robert Kirenga, the Executive Director of the coalition says the EC needs to take control of the campaign process by making sure that candidates adhere to the SOPs. Kirenga says while electoral processes are fundamental for any democracy, at this time, following SOPs is more important because it saves lives.
Civil Societies under the Uganda Coalition of Human Rights Defenders
Uganda have tasked the Electoral Commission to ensure that all presidential
candidates adhere to the covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures.
According to the coalition, some presidential candidates are not adhering to
the set SOPs, which they say is endangering the lives of the voters. They say
this is contrary to the election guidelines which urge all presidential
candidates to adhere to the ministry of health SOPs such as wearing a mask and
carrying out campaigns of not more than 200 people.
The call comes at a time when the country is a critical stage of
the COVID-19 response with widespread community infections.
Robert Kirenga, the Executive Director of the coalition says the
EC needs to take control of the campaign process by making sure that candidates
adhere to the SOPs.
Kirenga says while electoral processes are fundamental for any democracy, at
this time, following SOPs is more important because it saves lives.
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Currently, more than 2,000 hospital beds dedicated to COVID
treatment are fully occupied and some people are being advised to undergo home care
isolation. As of Tuesday 16,020 cases of the disease were confirmed with 145
Dr Charles Olaro, the Director of Curative Services at the Ministry of Health
says that it is important for people to adhere to SOPs to protect health
He says if health workers start falling sick and eventually die, the already-stretched
health system will crumble.
"Please let everyone wear a mask. Right now this disease is everywhere and
our health workers have begun falling sick. To protect the people who treat the
sick, let us wear masks," he said.
A meeting held on Monday between the Electoral Commission and six presidential
candidates, the EC chairman Justice Simon Mugyenyi Byabakama urged all
presidential candidates to observe all SOPs and election guidelines. He said
candidates who continued to flout the guidelines would force the EC to resort
to tougher measures.
The EC did not reveal what measures it would take to ensure the SOP are
observed. However, the Public Health Act says that anyone who contravenes
SOPs like holding a gathering of more than 200 people is liable to imprisonment
of not more than two months.