Just minutes before Parliament announces the winners in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) elections, Independent candidates say they did not have a fair campaigning ground.
Most of the aspirants claim that they did not have enough time to contact Members of Parliament and share with them their manifestos. They also note that there has not been clear guidelines and communication on running elections and campaigns.
Counting of votes started immediately after the voting as MPs chose nine EALA legislators from a pool of 47 contestants, majority of whom are Independents.
The ruling NRM party fielded six candidates while opposition Forum for Democratice Change fielded two candidates. The Democratic Party and Uganda People’s Congress fielded one candidate each, with the rest coming as Independents.
Algresia Ogojo, one of the Independent candidates says her only contact point was the Clerk’s office and this did not help her. She states that as an aspirant she was blocked from putting her posters by the clerk’s office saying she could only use small flyers. She says she was shocked to see other people putting in their posters.
Ogojo also says Independent candidates only had time to meet the MPs at lunch time when they were for a break.
She says next time there should be proper guidelines on campaigns like use of posters, communication to candidates but also accessibility to MPs who form the electorate. She says with seven minutes of campaigning, candidates tried their best but this would be better if the MPs had an open access.
David Innocent Matioli, another candidate states that they did not have clear guidelines on the entire election until a day to the election.
He says some MPs were difficult to access as they are often out of parliament. He also says all Independents suffered since they lack caucuses unlike the political parties.
Mpiriirwe Rachel says caucuses disadvantaged the Independent candidates. She says the election was free and fair, although she was told she was young.
NRM candidates Musamali Paul, Rose Akol Okullu,George Odong, Kasamba Mathias,Denis Namara and Mary Mugyenyi are in the lead. DP’s Mukasa Fred Mbidde and Christopher Opoka as well as Independent Candidate Suzan Nakawuci are also in comfortable positions.