Uganda: Campaigns Heat Up In Uganda Elections

By Katongole Kiwanuka – The heat of presidential elections is up in Uganda after several of them even failed to pick updated draft national voters’ registers from the National Electoral Commission.

On Wednesday the electoral body, contested by mainly the opposition handed over the registers to members of political parties taking part in the presidential campaign. Of the seven presidential candidates, only three representatives from the ruling National Resistance Movement, Democratic Party and the People’s Progressive Party turned up.

The electronic register which is stored on a DVD format, contains all the personal details of 13, 924,619 voters in all the districts. Handing over the material, electoral commission chairperson, Eng. Badru Kiggundu said that the importance of the matter is keeping contestants and stakeholders updated.The final copy is supposed to be delivered to the participating candidates two weeks before the polling day.

Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) Wafula Oguttu rubbished today’s activity saying it was irrelevant. “It is just waste of time coming to pick a draft which we know is inconsistent,” said Oguttu in an interview. Meanwhile campaigning continues with various candidates continuing to put up numerous promises.

Incumbent candidate Yoweri Museveni who is traversing Northern Uganda region where he has always been unpopular, today promised to offer assistance to victims of rebel Joseph Kony atrocities. Museveni disclosed that a list of 5,000 victims had been compiled and they will soon start receiving some help as the amount due to them is being decided by the Solicitor General.

Uganda Peoples Congress candidate, Olara Otunnu also pledged to build agro-processing factories in rural areas to add value on farmers’ products. The Obote UPC government had this as its priority. Retired colonel Kiiza Besigye, Museveni’s perceived major contender meanwhile said that the president has resorted to singing because he fears Besigye.

Addressing a meeting of his key campaigners and supporters at the party head offices at Najjanankumbi, Kampala this morning, Besigye said Museveni fears his influence among the poor, women and the youth, who are the majority in the country. Meanwhile the only woman contender Betty Olive Kamya Namisango has promised to arrest the Vice president and all other officials who were implicated in corruption scandals – when she gets in power.

Seven candidates are in the race including Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement, Norbert Mao of the Democratic Party, Betty Kamya of Uganda Federal Alliance, Abed Bwanika of the Peoples Development Party, Bidandi Ssali of the Peoples Progressive Party, Kiiza Besigye of Forum for Democratic Change and Independent candidate Sam Lubega. Elections are set for March 2011.