EC insists no taking photographs while voting

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The Electoral Commission (EC) calls upon voters to uphold the principle of secret ballot which is stipulated in the 2021 election guidelines.

It is stipulated in the Electoral Commission voter education handbook that “while voting is done in the open; marking the ballot is secret – your choice is secret (p.35).”

Paul Bukenya, the EC spokesperson has asked the voters to be responsible not to take pictures or photographs and share them with others as the law does not allow that.

He says voters should keep their ballot secret for one’s safety and desist from the exposition of persons one will have voted for in the 2021 general elections.

A cross-section of voters and political candidates oppose the move by the Electoral Commission to ban the use of cameras and smartphones within polling stations. 

Rebecca Kidaaga, a voter from Kabuwoko village in Lusanja says people should be allowed to move with their phones as it is a personal gadget for communication.

She says people have always voted without taking photos, but law enforcers may harass voters carrying phones for taking pictures at the polling stations.

John Mwesigwa, a voter from Kisugu in Makindye division says people have many gadgets to read while at the polling stations that the EC cannot control. He wonders how the election law enforcers will monitor voters with recording gadgets that are not easily seen.  

Joseph Kabuleta, a presidential candidate says that the pronouncement is a bad move and could frustrate the need for transparency during elections.    

He says his team planned to have all his agents equipped with smartphones to capture events of the day. He hastens to add that the ban raises questions on the integrity of the process and resurfaces fears of intended vote-rigging. 

Nancy Linda Kalembe, an Independent Presidential Candidate says she is more concerned about the safety of the ballot, adding that having such gadgets in place tantamount to having a polling agent. 

She adds that it is unfortunate that gadgets are banned in the digital era, where even the EC is encouraging virtual campaigns, virtual activities, and less human to human interactions.

This comes as different political camps mobilized media teams ahead of the 2021 general elections, to relay voting live on various platforms using the mobile phones, but the Electoral Commission had earlier banned the use of cameras and smartphones in the precincts of polling stations across the country.  

On January 14, 2021 Ugandans are going to the polls to vote presidential and parliamentary candidates.

URN