How Ban of Campaigns in Kampala Has Cost Parliamentary Candidates

The suspension of campaign meetings came as shock to both parliamentary and presidential candidates alike. It has also impacted on some candidates seeking election, with some saying that it may cost them their victory.
Sumayiyah Muwonge

Audio 4

The suspension of political campaigns in selected districts and cities has cost some parliamentary candidates in Kampala.

Last month, the Electoral Commission suspended campaign meetings in districts and cities with high cases of COVID-19. The districts and cities were Mbarara, Kabarole, Luwero, Kasese, Masaka, Wakiso, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo, Kampala and Tororo.

The suspension of campaign meetings came as a surprise to both parliamentary and presidential candidates.  It also impacted on some candidates who argue that their funds for campaigning have dwindled due to overspending, which could cost them victory.

National Unity Platform (NUP) Kawempe North Member of Parliament candidate, Muhammad Ssegirinya noted that due to the ban, he has missed an opportunity for the Presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi to campaign for him in the area.

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The Democratic Party Kampala Woman Member of Parliament (MP) candidate, Sumayiya Muwonge says that she has faced a difficult time meeting with the electorates and on some occasions, she has been arrested by Police for defying the directives.

Muwonge also said that the ban has forced her to use the door-to-door campaign method which has proved to be costly since the electorates often demand money where ever she goes.

Muwonge adds that during the open-air campaigns, she would spend on average 1 Million Shillings a day to hire public address system and campaign venue, but now she spends close to 2 Million Shillings daily as she has to hire over 50 campaign agents whom she has to facilitate with a minimum of 10, 000 Shillings daily as well as giving hand-outs to some voters who time and again request for support.

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The National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate for Kiira Municipality, Emmanuel Ssenkezi Katumba noted that the decision by the EC left him with no money since he had already paid the service providers for tents, chairs and drinks.

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Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Rubaga South MP candidate, Habib Buwembo says that before the ban he has been holding campaigns with a team of other party candidates and it was cost-effective.

Buwembo said that as a result, he has faced difficulties holding campaigns alone as he was depending on the resources of other team members who are financially stable.

He says that with group campaigns, he would spend 100,000 Shillings to cater for his fuel daily unlike now when he has to spend 600,000 for the public address systems, 200,000 Shillings for campaign agents, fuel 200, 000 Shillings as well as radio talk shows at 1 Million Shillings daily.

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Other candidates have resorted to the use of community radios, social media platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp.            

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