Last week’s announcement by the Electoral Commission (EC) banning campaigns in 13 districts could work against some ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidates more than it is likely to affect their opposition rivals.
On December 26, the EC suspended campaign meetings of all categories of elections in 16 districts and cities in the country due to the surging Covid-19 infections exacerbated by mass gatherings.
The districts include Kasese, Mbarara, Kabarole, Luweero, and Kampala among others. EC advised candidates to restrict themselves to virtual campaigns by using radios, televisions, social media, community-based public address systems (ebizindaalo) and other online platforms.
While the NRM presidential candidate, Yoweri Museveni, is not bothered about the ban, some candidates are worried that this is likely to affect their bids to join Parliament as well as other elective offices given that they expected Museveni to bolster their campaigns.
It is a common practice that whenever a presidential candidate campaigns in an area, he introduces the party flag bearers to the electorate and campaigns for them.
A new comer like Margaret Nakavubu, the NRM candidate for Mukono Woman MP, the ban was a big disappointment since it came within two days of Museveni’s visit to Mukono for the campaigns. He instead obeyed the EC directive and instead travelled to the district to commission some development projects thus denying her a chance of her candidature beinh promoted the NRM party leader.
Nakavubu argues that though the party endorsed her as its flag bearer, it would have been of more significance if Museveni had campaigned in the district for all the candidates and rallied the electorate to vote them.
The state minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Sseninde is equally disappointed. She looked up to Museveni’s campaign meeting had been scheduled for December 29.
To Sseninde, Museveni’s presence cannot under estimated much as she is confident that her role and depending on what the president has done for the district will be enough for the party to win with a high margin in the district.
Faridah Nambi, the NRM candidate for Kampala Woman MP is worried that the EC directive is going an opportunity to get close to the head of the state since this is her first time she is contesting for an elective office.
“Even the party mobilizers have also been demoralized after learning that the president will not be meeting them physically,” Nambi said.