The Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama has clarified that aspiring presidential candidates are free to consult their supporters.
The EC boss however urged all aspiring candidates to observe set procedures to avoid fouling the set rules on campaigning before they are declared full candidates.
Justice Byabakama made the comments while speaking to journalists ahead of celebrations to commemorate this years international day of democracy.
“Every aspiring presidential candidate is free to consult but there are procedures to be followed before one holds consultations,” stressed Byabakama.
Byabakama’s clarification comes amid complaints from sections of the public that the ruling government and incumbent president Yoweri Museveni is already campaigning yet security agencies are actively preventing his rivals from holding rallies to address supporters.
On the subject of democracy, justice Byabakama urged Ugandans to desist from situations and temptations of violence during elections.
“Violence has no room in a democratic nation, I therefore urge Ugandans to avoid violence during elections,” said Byabakama.
Besides EC’s campaign against violence in elections Byabakama said his leadership is now engaged in a countrywide exercise to mobilise people to turn up and vote. He said that currently, 30% of Ugandans do not vote. He says his Commission is trying to raise voter turnout to reach at least 90%.
On preparations for the upcoming general elections, Byabalama said the smooth flow of their activities is hampered by cash shortfalls.
“We have been allocated UGX140 billion this financial year, which is still very low,. In this case we are engaging with relevant authorities to ensure that the Commission is furnished with sufficient resources for this exerciseee,” Byabakama said.
By Vincent Lusambya