National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, has vowed to conduct physical campaigns in the banned districts in total defiance of a directive by the Electoral Commission (EC) suspending campaigns in some parts of the country.
EC last Saturday banned campaign meetings in Kampala, Wakiso, Mbarara, Kabarole, Luweero, Kasese, Masaka, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo and Tororo, citing rising Covid -19 cases.
Addressing a news conference at the NUP head office in Kampala yesterday, Mr Kyagulanyi accused the government of hiding behind Covid-19 to stop the campaigns.
He claimed the government was lying about the prevalence of Covid-19 in the districts, warning that he will use all possible means to reach out to the people in those areas.
“The EC is working on the directives of Mr Museveni and they have blocked campaigns in the areas he has been to but I can assure you that we are going to campaign in all districts whether blocked or not. How will Ugandans make informed decisions without knowing what is in our manifestos? Mr Museveni is so scared and we shall continue to expose them,” Bobi Wine said.
EC reasoned that campaigning in the banned districts would risk the lives of people with the persistent violation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) by some political candidates.
However, Daily Monitor has since established that at least half of the 16 districts where campaigns were banned have each cumulatively registered less than 400 infections in 10 months, according to official data.
The ministry officials said 201 of the new cases are contacts and alerts from Kampala (121), Wakiso (40), Luweero (15), Mbarara (5), Tororo (3), Masaka (3), Kibuku (3), Mbale (2), Kyotera (2), Kiryandongo (2), Jinja (2), Katakwi (1), Isingiro (1), Kyenjojo (1).
Bobi Wine, who has not campaigned in five of the named districts, including Masaka, Wakiso, Kazo, Kampala and Mukono, claimed the EC was “acting partisan” following the candidates’ blocked campaigns in many districts by the security officers.
“We have been blocked from campaigning in more than 30 districts now, was there Covid? Or has the Covid-19 just seen us coming to those districts and decided that we should not go there?” he wondered.
“We also saw Mr Museveni campaigning in Mukono District, which was also banned. Those are double standards. Whether physical, digital, or what, we are going to campaign because these people don’t understand the generation they are dealing with,” Bobi Wine added.
In response, the EC spokesperson, Mr Paul Bukenya, said they were standing by their decision to ban campaigns in those districts, warning that those who will go against the law will face repercussions.
“Those districts are not on our campaign schedule. That means we don’t expect candidates from the lowest level of LC3 to presidential to campaign there. We expect compliance from them because the law is very clear on this,” Mr Bukenya said in an interview.
At the same press conference, Bobi Wine condemned the brutal attack on the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat, and journalists covering different opposition political parties.
On Monday, Mr Amuriat was hospitalised after one of the police commanders in eastern Uganda pepper sprayed him directly in the eyes.
This was just a day after journalists Ali Mivule, Daniel Lutaaya, and Ashraf Kasirye, who are covering Bobi Wine were shot at using teargas canisters by the police in Masaka. Mr Kasirye and Mr Lutaaya are receiving medication.