Aspirants registering at the gate of Rubaga Division without Observing SOPs.(photo by Ronard Shabomwe)

The Electoral Commission offices in Kampala have failed to observe physical distancing guidelines as they nominate candidates for local council positions.

For a process that started as early as 8; 00 am, several candidates entered the nomination premises without washing their hands as many wore their masks on their chin.

In many of the nomination areas of Nakawa, Kawempe and Lubaga divisions, the numbers were overwhelming and it was impossible for the small offices to contain the candidates let alone enabling social distancing.

Stories Continues after ad

In Rubaga division, although there are two washing facilities at the entrance because it is unmanned, several aspirants are seen passing through without washing their hands.

The security personnel who are meant to ensure there is strict adherence to hand washing and standard operating procedures are camped outside the gate and interacting with some of the candidates. No temperature is being checked for all the candidates, and also almost everyone has a mask, many of them have it dressed on their chin.

Candidates and their entourage and all in one tent barely a meter away from each other and the number of people have not also been restricted. There were over 150 people in the premises of the electoral commission.

In Ntinda area, which houses the Nakawa division electoral commission, with over 300 people, the place is congested with people putting on their masks at will. Several candidates also complained about the lack of physical distancing but lacked what to do.

At the entrance, a handwashing facility existed but people washed hands at will.

According to a contestant Hamza Kajimu who had just finalised nominations for the post of Kampala Central LCV, he was surprised at the number of people but also the lack of social distancing. He says a clear strategy should be worked on to avoid any spreading of the virus.

The Returning officer of the area Fredrick Muwaya Tibakuno, however, said that they will try as much as possible to meet the standard operating procedures. He says they were, for instance, installing more hand washing taps.

At Kawempe however, a security officer is at the gate blocking those entering without masks. Some of the aspirants have ended up purchasing masks from nearby shops to enter the electoral commission offices. Many aspirants also put off their masks as they sit and talk to colleagues. The aspirants like in many other areas are also sited close to each other not maintaining social distance.