Uganda’s Electoral Commission has warned that it may cancel the presidential campaigns if there is continued violation of guidelines.
The Commission gave this warning in a statement issued here late on Thursday.
Justice Simon Byabakama, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, said in the statement that candidates should desist from holding rallies in a manner that violates campaign guidelines.
The candidates or their agents continued to mobilise supporters to gather in large numbers at campaign venues, which breached the guideline of not holding a meeting of more than 200 people amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission said.
The candidates continued to conduct or participate in processions and hold campaign meetings in non-designated venues, violating the harmonised campaign programme, the electoral body added.
The Commission urged the candidates to continue to encourage their supporters to observe the standard procedures to avoid further spread of COVID-19.
The statement came after the recent arrest of opposition presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, over violation of campaign guidelines.
Kyagulanyi’s arrest sparked violent protests in some parts of the country on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to the death of 16 people and hospitalisation of dozens, police said.
The Commission said it has taken up the matter of his arrest with the relevant authorities and called for calm.
“Accordingly, we appeal to the public to remain calm and restrain from engaging in acts of lawlessness that may result in destruction of property and loss of life, as already witnessed,” the statement said.
The Electoral Commission earlier this month cleared 11 presidential candidates, including incumbent President, Yoweri Museveni, to run in the 2021 general elections scheduled for Jan. 14, 2021.