The Electoral process has entered a very crucial stage of political campaigns for Presidential, Parliamentary, City/District Local Govt Councils, Municipality/City Chairpersons and Councilors, Sub-County/Town/Municipal Division Chairpersons & Councilors.
Police spokesperson CP Fred Enanga days it is the biggest general election so far with more than 1600 elective positions.
“We would like to, first of all, thank all candidates for their participation in the Electoral Process, and further them, their agents and supporters to ensure they observe the guidelines that were issued by the electoral commission.”
He said each candidate should know that the guidelines are meant to help them campaign safely and reduce the risk of COVID19 transmission.
In addition the rules % guidelines are to purposely maintain the integrity, fairness & legitimacy of the electoral process.
“As the Joint Task Force, we would like to remind all candidates on the following very crucial guidelines.”
Timing. All campaigns shall be conducted between 7:00 am and 6 pm and in accordance with the harmonized candidates campaign programs.
Any campaign activities outside these timings will attract enforcement action.
All candidates will be allowed to organize/hold meetings/campaigns in a regulated manner, preferably outdoors, with limited attendance of maximum of seventy (70) persons, with the social distancing of two metres.
They must ensure the campaign/meeting venues are provided with handwashing facilities and sanitizers, participants wear face masks at all times while at the venue.
All tables, chairs, doors, handles are sanitized and regularly disinfected to mitigate the spread of COVID19.
All candidates are advised to resist from holding mass rallies, conducting processions from one meeting to another.
Similarly, convoys and crowds of supporters shall not be allowed outside the designated venues.
All candidates should identify suitable venues within constituencies and notify both the Returning Officer/Area Police, who will conduct an inspection together with the District Covid-19 Task Force for suitability.
Candidates are advised to use non-contact means of communication to interact with the electorate which includes; fliers, leaflets, brochures, posters, billboards & banners, radio & Tv announcements and talk shows, SMS, Voice messaging, new digital media.
Candidates who use posters are warned against pinning them on traffic road signs.
Similarly candidates who use banners are strongly warned against hanging them on electric power lines or in a manner that endangers vehicular traffic & pedestrians movement.
Any campaign materials that are wrongly placed will be removed by the relevant council authorities and police.
All candidates and their agents shall not use or publish any language or defamatory words, which incite public disorder, hatred or violence or which threatens war.
All candidates may use the Community Based Public Address Systems (Kizindalo) between 7 am – 9 am and 4 pm – 6 pm as per the campaign program harmonized with the Returning Officer.
“Of course, we know rallies are the lifeblood of election campaigns and the easiest way candidates are able to get their messages out to the public.”
But Electoral Commission has clearly shown that its possible to have campaigns that are highly regulated and heavily reliant on outline platforms and social media as very strong marketing points.
For those political actors and groups that re still defiant and mobilizing bodabodas riders and goons including “Kanyamas” into holding illegal processions and rallies, we shall definitely arrest them.
All candidates now have to contend with a traditional mix of a regulated campaign meeting with the more modern methods of new digital technologies.
The good thing is that most of the political parties and candidates have an online presence, and are already presenting their agenda and manifestos to the electorate.
“We are closely working with the UCC to ensure all candidates do not use social media to spread falsehoods, conspiracy theories & hate speech among voters and the public. To the voters fans & supporters & well-wishers you should know that #COVID19 is real.”