Government has maintained that it won’t declare a State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic as proposed by a section of opposition politicians. The government says the current situation doesn’t warrant the proposed measure.
This stand was made by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee to justify the revised 2021 general elections roadmap that provides for electoral campaigns to be held through traditional and digital media.
The Minister assured committee members that the COVID-19 situation in the country cannot warrant a declaration of State of Emergency in the country and hence there is no need for postponing of the forth coming general elections.
Kamuntu said the manner in which government has so far handled the COVID-19 pandemic has earned it experience. He said government is very certain that the pandemic can be managed without postponing elections since there is no insurgency in the country.
“The COVID pandemic has indeed affected our lives but the experience we have already gained is that it can be managed without postponing elections and declaring a state of emergency in this country,” the Minister said.
“Article 110 of the constitution regarding declaring a State of Emergency provides for external aggression and there is no external aggression against Uganda. In addition, there’s no case of internal insurgency or a total breakdown of the country”.
Kamuntu said that if the situation called for a State of Emergency, there would be a total breakdown and Parliament would not be sitting.
“Our view is that the situation doesn’t warrant declaring a State of Emergency as to cause a postponement of the elections”.
During the same meeting, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Justice Simon Byabakama said the revised roadmap was reached after consultation with Ministry of Health who are the key experts in the fight against Covid-19.
The Ministry of Health advised that there was no way the crowds that turned up for mass campaigns could observe the health guidelines that were put in place as a measure to mitigate the pandemic, Byabakama said.