Last week, EC chairperson justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama said they were pushing ahead with the elections amidst the coronavirus pandemic scare in order to comply with the dictates of the Constitution.
But to Tumukunde, this is a nonstarter especially when one considers the ownership of media in Uganda.
“Most of these radios are owned by politicians. I can use Jinja as an example – one is owned by honourable [Moses] Balyeku, another one is owned by honourable [Nathan Igeme] Nabeta. Now, assuming critical times come and they say; don’t allow an opposed man to NRM to speak on your radio. What more powers do you have over Balyeku’s radio. Who are you? Let us get down and look at this nitty-gritty. You have like 10,000 candidates, how are you going to split them and how are you going to make sure that each of them is truly accessing these media? That is to start with if you can because this a private ownership. This is my shirt, you cant come and tell me wear it upside down. I will say no, its mine that is how I want to wear it.” said Tumukunde.
He called on the Electoral Commission to continue engaging all stakeholders in order to agree on a compromise position. He said elections in the past have caused a war in Uganda which resulted into the NRM taking over power in 1986, therefore, they shouldn’t be played with.
However, speaking Tuesday to political party leaders under their umbrella organization National Consultative Forum, Byabakama said they have no powers to amend the law to extend the election or declare a state of emergency which would enable the extension of the election.
“We shall do everything possible to stop a negative election or a wrongly done election from taking place and once we discuss and agree on a position, I will be with them. I don’t have to be escorting them but I’m dependable and you can count on me. If their position doesn’t favour my deep thinking on the matter, I will choose the course of the group that I’m leading,” said Tumukunde.
Tumukunde added that the prevailing conditions in the country so far don’t allow for free and fair elections as provided for in the constitution.
“Let the Electoral Commission find importance in the legitimacy and credibility of an election. Once this ceases to be, then you give legitimacy to many other things,” Tumukunde said.
Speaking earlier, Byabakama said they are in the process of identifying companies that will supply the 2021 election materials. He added that printing ballots in Uganda are not a new phenomenon.