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CP champions state of emergency as 2021 poll guide

By Andante Okanya

Added 3rd July 2020 10:04 AM

Article 110 of the Constitution is instructive on circumstances that dictate the inevitability of a state of emergency declaration

CP champions state of emergency as 2021 poll guide

Article 110 of the Constitution is instructive on circumstances that dictate the inevitability of a state of emergency declaration

Conservative Party(CP) President Ken Lukyamuzi has championed suggestions for the pronouncement of a state of emergency as a guide to the 2021 polls.

Lukyamuzi echoed CPs's stance during the party's press briefing at their head office on Kisozi Complex in Kampala.

The CP President said such a pronouncement should only be made after the requisite parliamentary scrutiny.

Article 110 of the Constitution is instructive on circumstances that dictate the inevitability of a state of emergency declaration.

Flanked by party officials, he said such scrutiny will help to ascertain whether the polls should proceed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic or be suspended.

"It is only after accepting the presence of a state of emergency in the country that elections can be postponed for another six months where it is absolutely necessary and only Parliament can do that. In the absence of that, the extension of elections would be unconstitutional," said Lukyamuzi.

Officials in attendance were secretary general Mathias Ssemusu-Mugobansonga, Steven Kayemba(Secretary for Education), Simon Kasirye(national chairperson), Lydia Wangala(national executive-women), and Alfred Kasozi (deputy secretary general).

Recall revised election roadmap

The party has also scoffed at the reworked 2021 election roadmap, and requested it be withdrawn. The party says the document is laced with flaws that are unconstitutional and breach international protocols.

On June 16, Electoral Commission (EC) chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama, released a revamped roadmap, that details a scientific campaign in the face of the pandemic.

The reworked map has elicited mixed reactions, with arguments and counter-arguments on its practicability.

EC says the new directive which bans conventional campaign rallies and champions online campaigns, was informed by input from health experts.

Currently, the EC election roadmap is past halfway stage, in preparation for the 2021 general elections. Voter registration and verification exercise was concluded mid-December last year.

The next stage of the nomination of candidates commences September and November, and thereafter campaigns commence.

Polls for presidential, parliamentary and local council positions, will be conducted between January 10 and February 8.

But CP says the notion of a digital campaign is alien in constitutional law. He emphasised that electoral laws prescribe how EC is duty-bound to organise an exercise that reflects the consent of the people.

"We therefore reject the proposal to ban public gatherings and political rallies because that arrangement undermines the social contract the voter makes with the contending candidates during elections," Lukyamuzi emphasised.

"CP is not prepared to take part in the sham elections neither is it prepared to let Museveni conduct unfair elections as it looks.We advise the EC to meet all the registered parties in the country to hear their side of the story and what should be done before elections are held."

For breach of international protocol, which Uganda is signatory, he cited the International Covenant on People's Social Economic and Political Rights, as well as the United Nations Human Rights Charter.

Consult Parliament on COVID-19 directives

The party says President Yoweri Museveni acted outside the ambit of the law when he instituted the COVID-19 preventative measures.

Lukyamuzi said the dusk to dawn curfew, closure of places of worship, educational institutions, and mass gatherings, among others, was ill-advised in absence of a state of emergency declaration.

He stressed that the law prohibits the President from assuming such far-reaching powers without Parliamentary endorsement.

Plea to reopen schools

CP secretary-general Mathias Ssemusu-Mugobansonga, requested Museveni to open up educational institutions, especially for the finalist classes, across the spectrum.

"We are calling upon President Museveni to rethink this and open up education institutions. He should have been cognizant of the plight of candidates who were about to sit for examination," lamented Ssemusu-Mugobansonga.

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