Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde wants government to exercise her powers to nationalise the media to facilitate campaigns ahead of the 2021 elections.
Lt. Tumukunde, a bush war hero, confirmed early this year intentions to contest the Presidential elections.
While appearing on NTV On the spot political show, said: “We should nationalise the radios for the period and time when this election will be in process.”
The former ISO chief and minister for security, questioned: “What is important about an election? You must access the voter and he/she must access you. The voter must preferably listen to you and if can, look at you.”
Electoral Commission chief, Justice Simon Byabakama who appeared along Tumukunde, admitted: “We are in consultations with various political actors and Civil Society Organisations to see how we can devise other means other than radio and TV campaigns that we can apply without endangering the lives of people.”
Byabakama argued: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not possible to have the usual open-air carnival-like rallies which gather large crowds of people and where it’s very difficult to observe social distancing, washing hands and putting on masks.”
The EC chief noted: “Before we came up with this measure of banning campaign rallies, we had an engagement with the @MinofHealthUG and we looked at a whole series of activities in an electoral cycle. Focus was on those activities which have the tendency to gather big crowds.”
Justice Byabakama highlighted: “Nobody could have foreseen COVID-19, it has affected our lives to a large extent including the way we handle or hold our campaigns but the question is, has it erased the process of campaigns?”
He explained: “When we are addressing issues of elections, we must begin from the position of what the law says. Before you can talk of what a normal election is, look at whether there is a definition anywhere in any provision of the law.”
On state of emergency, the EC chief stated: “It’s not within the @UgandaEc’s competence or jurisdiction to determine whether the situation we are faced with is a state of emergency.”
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.