On the Thursday morning presser, the head of the Electoral Commission Justice Simon Byabakama announced that all presidential candidates will be subjected to a mandatory testing for COVID-19 and must test negative at least 72 hours before being nominated. Although this is a great idea, it should be at liberty and convenience of the candidate. All articles in the supreme document that governs Uganda (1995 constitution) do not prohibit any citizen with an ailment or health crisis from taking part in elective politics.
The novel Corona virus disease is an ailment like the rest which are in existence and luckily enough, it is curable despite being highly contagious.
For Byabakama to attach a compulsory COVID-19 test to one of the core requirements for the presidential nomination, it means he us creating his own regulations that are outside the constitution. His directive that candidates simply promotes stigmatisation of covid patients and tends to imply that they have no space in the community. We are imagining a situation where one candidate tests positive for COVID-19 prior to nomination. Does that imply he or she does not qualify to lead? World over, we have seen great leader like Boris Johnson of the UK, Justin Trudeau of Canada, Donald Trump of the US to mention but a few, testing positive for COVID-19 but this does not strip them of their leadership abilities. Therefore, it is inexpressibly wrong for Byabakama to make a covid test mandatory when great Western democracies like the US have not made it part of the requirements for candidates. We are inclined to believe that these policies are just meant to frustrate and bar some candidates especially those in the opposition from challenging Mr. Museveni. The state may perhaps be targeting specific candidates to bar them from appearong on the ballot and besides, this is possible since the EC has already showed its closeness to the incumbent government as evidenced in the way they’ve declined to release Mr. Tibuhaburwa’s academic credentials and yet they hurriedly released Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s documents in just a blink.