Three days on the campaign trail, some presidential candidates are finding the police guards attached to them burdensome that they now want the Electoral Commission (EC) to withdraw them.
At least three of the 11 presidential aspirants have asked the electoral body to either withdraw the guards or provide them with meals. John Katumba, an Independent candidate, was the first to ask the EC last week to at least use part of the Shs 20 million he paid as nomination fees to feed the policemen attached to him.
“I don’t have money to feed these four security officers, why can’t the EC use part of the money I paid to feed them? I am even failing to buy fuel for the car; some of us will conduct the campaigns on Boda-bodas,” Katumba said last week.
As the campaigns kicked off on Monday, two other candidates, Willy Mayambala and Joseph Kabuleta, both Independents, raised similar concerns. Mayambala, who has failed to raise money to print campaign posters said that he is finding it hard to facilitate the bodyguards.
“Some of us financially we’re not stable, personally I have failed to raise money for my campaign posters. I am only surviving on the funding from well-wishers,” Mayambala said.
Besides his incapacity to feed the guards, Mayambala also indicated that he is unable to offer accommodation to the team.
Asked why he came into a race that requires people with a strong financial muscle, Mayambala said he was pushed by the desire to change the mindset of the poor people who think elections are for the rich people who don’t even know the challenges of the common man like him.
On his part, Kabuleta argues that there is a need for EC to reconsider their arrangements and start feeding the security details because candidates are already overwhelmed by the high cost of the digital campaigns.
According to Charles Twine, the spokesman of the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), the guards are fully facilitated by the police and the EC because they are on special duties.
Twine said, the guards are supposed to use part of their allowance to provide for their needs.
Paul Bukenya, the acting spokesman of the EC said last week that much as the guards get allowances, the presidential candidates can feed them or offer them accommodation.