Understanding the viability and the maneuver of challenges involved in running campaigns during a Covid-19 pandemic.
Will stakeholders be able to strike a balance between the protection of both democratic and health rights of the citizens?On the 16th of June, 2020, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (EC) of Uganda announced the release of a revised roadmap, which requires that all electoral processes such as nomination of candidates, campaigns and polling, would be “scientific”. Scientific in the sense that any and all activities pertaining campaigns and elections would have to occur with less numbers to accommodate the viability of social-distancing in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.Uganda has been experiencing a surge in the number of new cases, as the government battles to control the spread of the virus. As of November 30th, 2020, Uganda had recorded 21,145 cases of COVID 19 infections and 201 deaths.The EC argues that this approach aligns with the Government’s health and safety measures aimed at safeguarding the people of Uganda and providing a free and healthy environment. Civil Organizations such as the Elder’s Forum and Opposition Stakeholders continue to call for a need to build provisional regulations for the upcoming election in order to reach a compromise between democratic and health safety of the citizens.Given the usual culture of political campaigns in Uganda that ranges from huge crowds to processions through city centers, open air rallies, various theatrics and the need for proximity between candidates and voters; stakeholders will have to adjust and adapt to the guidelines issued that prohibit all these.By trailing, Brian Atuheire Batenda - a candidate for the Member of Parliament in Kinkizi West, Kanungu District in South Western Uganda under the flag of the Forum for Democratic Change, one of the more popular opposition parties in the country - Blair Davis Mugume embarks on a journey to document and try to understand the intricacies and challenges involved in running campaign in a pandemic.
Ps. This project was entirely shot on a Smartphone.