By Goodluck Musinguzi
With almost 48 hours lapsing, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, Presidential Candidate NUP is yet to get out of police detention in Jinja District.
He was arrested in Luuka District in Eastern Uganda after his continued holding of rallies that contravene Standard Operating Procedures set in the fight against Covid19 pandemic.
Justice Simon Byabakama asked each candidate to wave at people while seated in car , address town hall meetings, use media to reach out to their supporters.
President Yoweri Museveni candidate of NRM has been addressing limited meetings though his supporters led by Mosese Ssali aka Bebe Cool were seen holding processions in Northern Uganda.
Rtd Maj Gen Gregg Mugisha Muntu announced suspension of his campaign until Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi is released. Others like Rtd Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde and others announced.
Other Presidential Candidates like Patrick Amuliat Oboi of FDC has been arrested many times in running battles with police. He was arrested on same day in Gulu and released at night.
Hon Norbert Mao of DP says he has instructed his legal team to take action against the police and some NRM supporters that were seen holding processions.
The Independent Electoral Commission said they have take note of the arrest of Presidential candidate Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi of NUP , allegedly for violating the guidelines issued regarding the candidate of Presidential Campaign meetings.
Justice Simon Byabakama said the commission has also noted media statements indicating that some Presidential Candidate have suspended their campaign programs as a result of the above arrest.
“We wish to advise any such candidate to officially address the changes in their respective campaign programmes to the Electoral Commission”, said Justice Byabakama.
The Commission has further noted that some members of the public have reacted to the said arrest by engaging in acts of protests, violence and confrontation with law enforcement and other security agencies which has caused unease and tension among the general public.
The Electoral Commission has taken up the matter of the arrest of candidate Kyagulanyi with the relevant authorities. 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.
Justice Simon Byabakama cautioned and warned all candidates for whichever elective position to desist from holding their campaigns in a manner that violates the Guidelines regarding the conduct of campaign meetings.
“We reiterate that it is a violation of the campaign guidelines for a candidate and his/her agents to mobilize and/or encourages supporters to gather at campaign venues in large numbers in contravention of the public health(Control of COVID-19) (Amendment NO.3) rules 2020 issued on 9th November 2020, which provides that gatherings for purpose of political meetings should not exceed 200 persons.
Justice Byabakama said the commission further cautions candidates and their supporters to always observe the SOPs that were put in place to prevent the spread of COVID19.
“THE COMMISSION WARNS ALL CANDIDATES THAT CONTINUED VIOLATION OF THE GUIDELINES MAY ATTRACT CANCELLATION OF THE CAMPAIGN PROGRAMME”, said Justice Byabakama.