A few dozen opposition activists picketed while hoisting placards with a gamut of messages, including one that read: “If Uganda voted in Covid why not us?”, a reference to the disputed January 14 polls won by President Yoweri Museveni.
They also spray-painted “By-Elections Now” on the electoral body’s main gate and affixed messages denouncing corruption and demanding diaspora vote.
One placard screamed, “Stop Corruption, Not By-elections” while another said, “Diaspora remits, give them the vote.”
ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba announced the suspension of all electoral activities last year following the declaration of coronavirus as a national disaster by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
And in November justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi reiterated that position saying council and parliamentary by-elections would remain banned as the government focused its efforts on fighting the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A hard national lockdown is currently in place to slow down the respiratory disease.
But the ruling Zanu-PF party has on many occasions violated the restrictive measures, gathering its supporters at rallies and holding official in-person meetings.
Recently, the Election Resource Centre, a watchdog, urged the government to conduct by-elections even under the pandemic, arguing that further procrastination would impinge citizens’ rights to representation.
Several council and parliamentary seats are long overdue for by-elections after their holders either died or were recalled by the MDC-T as it sought to decimate the main opposition MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa.