‘To have elections when coronavirus is still there… madness,’ Museveni says


'To have elections when coronavirus is still there... madness,' Museveni says
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni when he hosted the 2nd National Prayers on Covid-19 at State House, Entebbe on May 9, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY

Uganda’s long-serving President Yoweri Museveni has said it would be wrong to hold a presidential election expected for early next year if the coronavirus persists, signalling for the first time a possible delay.

“To have elections when the virus is still there… It will be madness,” the 75-year-old Museveni, whom opponents cast as an authoritarian clinging to power, said in an interview with the local NBS Television on Monday.

Uganda has recorded a relatively low case load of the COVID-19 disease: 121 infections and no deaths.

The Government begun easing a strict national lockdown a few days ago.

Though no date had been fixed for the 2021 election, it is typically held in February.

In power since 1986, Museveni–a former rebel fighter –has not confirmed whether he would run again.

This though the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has already asked him to be their flag-bearer and voters expect him to stand.

The strongest opposition aspirant is pop star and lawmaker Bobi Wine whose music endears him to the young.

Opposition leaders and rights groups accuse Museveni of cracking down on critics with intimidation, detentions, torture and tear-gassing of opposition rallies. The government denies that, saying arrests are to preserve the law.

Under the 45-day lockdown that authorities started to ease last week, most businesses were shuttered, public gatherings banned, schools closed and movements largely curtailed.

Museveni’s doubt over holding the election contrasts with nearby Burundi where campaigns are in full throttle ahead of a presidential election next week.

There was no immediate reaction from Wine or his camp to the president’s comment on the election.

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