Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has hinted that there might be a delay in the presidential election scheduled for early next year due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, reported Reuters.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought about nationwide lockdowns and curfews in countries across the globe, curtailing social gatherings and movements of the people.
“To have elections when the virus is still there… It will be madness,” the 75-year-old Museveni said in an interview with the local NBS Television aired late on Monday.
Though no official date had been fixed for the 2021 election, it is typically held in February or March.
Jotham Taremwa, spokesman for Uganda’s Electoral Commission, said the pandemic may affect the electoral process.
“The fact is, you cannot have electoral activities conducted in a COVID-19 environment the same way as before,” he said. “The commission is looking at how we can implement electoral programs in compliance with the government’s guidelines on COVID-19 and at the same time not conflicting with the electoral laws.”
Uganda has reported 121 coronavirus infections so far and no deaths. The government had initially imposed an anti-coronavirus lockdown during which most businesses were made to shut, public gatherings were banned, schools closed and movements were largely curtailed.
The government began easing the strict lockdown measures early this month after President Museveni declared the infection as tamed. Several businesses including restaurants, wholesale stores, hardware shops, and others have now been allowed to reopen.
But as a precautionary measure, public transport and most private vehicles would still remain prohibited.
Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, has not yet if he is seeking another term; though the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has already asked him to contest the election this time, as voters too expect him to stand. He has won five presidential elections and in 2017 Uganda’s parliament, and removed an age cap from the constitution, allowing him to seek another term.