Politicians risk tough Penalties for Violating Covid-19 guidelines

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EC says politicians who hold processions and mass rallies risk tough penalties; Courtesy Photo

The Electoral Commission (EC) has warned candidates for political offices in the forthcoming general elections against flouting Covid-19 guidelines, that they risk tough penalties including disqualification.

According to the EC, the warning comes after observing that candidates were holding campaign rallies in a manner that exposes the electorate to the respiratory illness.

Campaign meetings for presidential, parliamentary and Local Government council elections commenced on November 9 across the country in the build-up for polls due in January next year.

However, as the campaigns progress, some candidates have started attracting large numbers to their campaign rallies yet the rules stipulate that political meetings should not exceed 200 persons.

“Some candidates are conducting processions along public roads, through towns and trading centers, and are also holding rallies in non-designated venues as per the harmonized campaign programme,” the Commission said in a statement late Wednesday.

“This is in violation of the Commission’s Guidelines that the campaigns should be conducted in observance of Standard Operating Procedures which include; social distancing, hand washing, and wearing of masks and in designated places.” the statement adds.

The Commission, according to the statement, notes that law enforcement agencies are ready to punish those who will break the laws.

“We warn all candidates contesting for various elective positions under the General Elections 2021, and all other stakeholders in the electoral process to conduct themselves in accordance with the Guidelines for the campaigns and strictly observe measures issued by the Commission,” said the Commission.

“Non-compliance with the Guidelines issued for the campaign period will necessitate intervention by law enforcing agencies, among other measures.”

Presidential candidates will campaign up to January 12, 2021 and voting will be on January 14 in a race featuring 11 Ugandans vying for the top seat.

For local government councils and parliament, elections will commence on January 1, 2021, beginning with the election of councilors for Older Persons to the sub-county/town/municipal/division and end on Feb. 3 with the election of sub-county/town/municipal/division chairpersons and councilors.

According to data provided by the ministry of health, Uganda so far registered 14993 cases of Covid-19, 139 deaths and 7939 recoveries.

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