Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Three presidential candidates have agreed on a joint vote protection team. They are Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the National Unity Platform-NUP presidential candidate, Forum for Democratic Change candidate-FDC Patrick Amuriat Oboi and Alliance for National Transformation-ANT candidate, Gregg Mugisha Muntu.
The three opposition presidential candidates announced the decision at a joint press briefing at Hotel Africana on Tuesday morning. They noted that even as they compete against each other, they have areas where they come together as forces of change. They encouraged Ugandans to turn out in big numbers and not only vote but also stay around to protect their votes.
Amuriat said that now that the campaigns have come to an end, all the attention should be put on the actual election day. “A vote is your democratic right and duty. All fellow Ugandans of voting age should turn up in their numbers and vote. Casting a vote is expression of who you want to be your leader for the next five years. Without determining the right leader in the next five years, you will have failed your constitutional responsibility,” Amuriat said.
He called upon Ugandans not to be intimidated by the Electoral Commission and security to stay away from polling stations to vote. “Vote protection is paramount, therefore, the need to come together. There are different ways to unite and this is the first step,” Amuriat said.
For his part, Gen Muntu said politics is at the center of everyone’s day life, therefore, everything must be done to ensure that the politics is straightened up. “In this corroborative effort, we appeal to Ugandans to turn up in large numbers. We as the forces of change recognize that the higher the number of the people who turn up to vote, the higher the chances of having change,” Muntu said.
Muntu said there is need to have a transparent election and that the pronouncement by the Electoral Commission that people should stay away from polling stations is outside the law. “Thursday is critical, we believe there can be change through an electoral process. Hoping that they can recognize that we are 45 million people that sense will prevail among those who want to hang on to power. We need this country to stay together,” Muntu said.
For his part, Kyagulanyi said that amidst the mounting challenges they have gone through like abducting and arresting his campaign teams, they are determined to win this week’s election. “The regime is trying to discourage Ugandans from turning up and vote. We are raising our voices and calling upon Ugandans to vote. By now, voters know who to vote for, therefore, we call upon all of you to go and vote for the candidate of your choice,” Kyagulanyi said.
Kyagulanyi also reiterated Amuriat and Muntu’s message calling upon people not to leave polling stations after voting. “Don’t be discouraged by the illegal orders of Byabakama and the military. We are convinced that the people of Uganda have already made up their mind, so be there to make your voice heard. Use your phones and cameras to record that moment when the presiding officer is declaring those results. We need the evidence,” Kyagulanyi said.
The address was also attended by the former FDC president, Dr. Kizza Besigye who welcomed the move to work together. “I have been a candidate four times, but the terror and violence seems to be scaled up every election. The lower the support goes, the more they become repressive. There is need for this togetherness to fight for the people’s will to be protected. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, it will deny Museveni opportunity to get 51 percent of the vote,” Besigye said.
On Thursday, the long wait will finally be over as Ugandans go to the polls to vote for who will be their president and members of Parliament for the next five years.