It is unfortunate that political campaigns are becoming volatile, with incidents of violence with security organs targeting mainly opposition candidates.
Speaking to a local independent electoral expert Chrispy Kaheru he stated that campaigns are supposed to be civil, to help political candidates to popularize their manifestos. The running battles between security, candidates and supporters however can’t permit stakeholders to harness the real meaning of the campaigning period.
Some of the actions of security agencies are very high-handed, reckless and could result in fatalities – if not checked. In some instances, the behavior of candidates’ supporters is provocative. It is unfortunate that many candidates and their supporters are not paying attention to the SOPs designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
It is prudent at this point that the Electoral Commission (EC) stops barking and begins to bite. The EC from now onwards must impartially crack the whip on errant security officers as well as candidates and voters who engage in any form of electoral malpractices and unprofessional behavior. This is the time for EC to strictly enforce the political parties Code of Conduct. Candidates should equally lead by example at all times; but most importantly control their supporters.
However, The network of public interest lawyers (NEPTIL) are vehemently adding their voice to that of the electoral expert condemning the conduct of the electoral processes and key actors as witnessed so far which continues to degenerate below the legal and human rights standards established and permitted by law.
The national coordinator and head of secretariat NETPIL Arthur Nsereko he castigated the continued brutality coupled with massive violation of people’s rights by police, and the army against opposition candidates.
Arthur further stated that these have always been witnessed as police and army have continued to block opposition candidates from holding campaigns by tear gassing them and their supporters and those in the NRM left to hold rallies without disruption and the electoral commission has not come out to reign on the police and the army.
Nsereko also highlights the acts of security officers both in Police, Army and investigative departments for engaging in partisan politics saying this is likely to spur emotions among the opposition supporters.
On several occasions security officers have made statements which reflect their political affiliation which according to the lawyers such statements are illegal.
Early this year on 8th January a one, Capt. Sula Sserunjogi, while at Butologo hill during the fifth day of the NRA great trek code named fric Kwetu made statements, “ It is unimaginable seeing Bobi Wine sit in the office that Museveni is occupying. It is this country has democracy but we cant allow such a thing to happen.”
Last month, in a widely spread video on social media and mainstream media, Brig. Deus Sande, the commandant of the UPDF’s armored warfare training school, under the Masaka armored brigade while addressing a gathering of top business people in Masaka he is quoted to have said, “ As long as we are still here, we are not ready to give out power to ideologically bankrupt people. We can not give away Ugandans. We can not spoil what we struggled for many years ago. We are not ready. Do you think we are planning a handover? No. We are planning for consolidation of what we struggled for. Its up to the young generation to decide where they want to take Uganda but they should know that the Uganda they live in is not what it was many years ago. Uganda should not go the Somali way.”
NETPIL now challenges the heads of these institution to expeditiously take action against their officers who have openly engaged in partisan politics which is against the law.