GULU-UGANDA: The National Resistance Movement Organization (NRM-O), the party that has ruled Uganda for the last 30 years under dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni, has launched last minute door-to-door campaigns targeting undecided voters ahead of February 18 2016 poll.
The campaign, which started on Wednesday February 3, will last till Monday, February 8, 2016. It will be conducted in every village in the country with the sole aim of marketing its presidential candidate, Museveni, so that he wins in the first round of voting. There are over 60,000 villages with 7,353,427 households in Uganda, according to the 2014 Census results.
Uganda’s electoral law stipulates that a presidential candidate must get at least 50% plus one vote of total vote cast, if he or she is to be declared president. There are eight candidates in this year’s presidential race, including one lady. The three top most contenders are incumbent Yoweri Museveni, who is seeking the fifth elective position, retired Colonel Dr. Kizza Besigye and former Prime Minister and close ally of Museveni, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi. Many commentators are predicting a re-run as the gaps between them is too close to call with no clear winner in the first round of voting.
This plan was unveiled by the Chairperson of NRM-O women’s league also a member of the National Campaign Task Force for President Museveni; Ms. Lydia Wanyoto Mutende. She revealed this during a press briefing on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 from the Gulu based Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC).
“I am glad to be in Gulu for this campaign. I am here on a political mission to market our clear manifesto which focuses on steady progress and the issue is vigilance during voting process. We are also preaching the message of the last morale boosting campaign targeting undecided voters. This is a six-day door-to-door campaign for Museveni”.
In their manifesto which was also distributed to the media practitioners, NRM-O “pledges to continue providing revolutionary, visionary, and democratic leadership and reiterates its commitment to the economic and social transformation of Uganda”.
The manifesto is the roadmap for Uganda and her people on the journey to attain the middle-income status. It lays out the policies and programs, which will guide the government over the next five years following its re-election by the people of Uganda.
Ms Wanyoto denied claims by the opposition that NRM-O was bribing voters through commercialization of politics. She said NRM-O was spending money by providing water and soft drinks (soda) during its meetings with the community, which, according to her, is “within the law”.
“We do not need to buy support. We provide water for audience. This is refreshment for the people. This accusation is just political propaganda. I know for sure as day follows the night that NRM will win this election”. She told the media.
The Political Assistant to Aswa Member of Parliament, Wilfred Odongpiny wrote a letter to the Returning Officer, Electoral Commission in Gulu on February 2, 2016, accusing a Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) Brigadier Charles Otema-Awany, of bribing voters in Gulu district so that they vote for President Museveni and MP candidate Catherine Lamwaka.
“There is outright bribery by Brigadier Otema Charles in support for presidential candidate Museveni and MP candidate Lamwaka Catherine. Brigadier Otema Charles is distributing money openly and moving with impunity escorted by boda boda in NRM-O T-shirt”. The letter said in parts.
The NRM-O chairman for Gulu district, Mr. Douglas Peter Okello-Okao dodged the notion that army officers were involved in actual campaign for candidate Museveni. He however admitted that soldiers moving among the community now are deployed under Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) which has nothing to do with presidential campaigns.
“The mission of OWC is the improvement of household incomes for poverty eradication, wealth creation and overall prosperity of Ugandans through facilitation of sustainable commercial agricultural production”, part of the NRM-O manifesto reads.
The manifesto says we are safer with a driver (Museveni) who has not only demonstrated ability as the founding leader of the revolution that liberated Uganda but also managed to keep the country together given its turbulent political history.