By Justin Omara
Kampala—3, June 2020: The Electoral Commission has ordered for the reopening of all field offices across the country in order to continue with preparations for the forthcoming 2021 general elections.
Following the report of the first Covid-19 case in Ugandan in March 2020, President Yoweri Museveni ordered for a 30-day lockdown which saw all public offices close and businesses suspended.
In his directive to all Field Staff, Electoral Commission Secretary, Mr Sam Rwakoojo says the Commission has decided to reopen all field offices to facilitate the conduct of election activities as per the approved roadmap.
“All field offices will re-open effective Thursday June 4th, 2020. Officers who work in boarder districts where movement from and into such districts is restricted until 17th June 2020, will have to seek movement permits from Resident District Commissioners in order to travel and resume duties. Those of you who may fail to obtain movement permits are advised to report the matter to the Secretary/EC for assistance,” the letter reads in part.
According to a roadmap issued by the Uganda Electoral Commission, the 2021 Presidential, Parliamentary and local council elections will be conducted in March next year.
All planned Electoral Commission activities between March and May 2020 were postponed until further notice. The activities which have been affected according to the roadmap include: display of tribunal recommendations for deletion or inclusion on the National Voters’ Register (NVR), gazetting and publishing of candidates’ nomination dates and venues, elections of Special Interest Groups (SIG) including older persons, persons with disabilities and youth at village and parish levels and internal political party candidates’ identification processes.
In early May 2020, President Yoweri Museveni said that elections in Uganda cannot be held under the current prevailing conditions.
The 2021 Presidential preparations had started gathering momentum, with more than 30 candidates notifying the EC of their intentions to contest for the Presidential seat.
Uganda now joins the long list of many African states whose elections preparations have been thrown off-balance by the outbreak of Covid-19.
Some of these nations are: Burundi [elections have taken place], Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Seychelles, Burkina Faso and Egypt, among others.