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NUP struggles to convince rejected aspirants not to seek nomination

Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu the NUP president

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |   As the clock ticks to October 15, the day the Electoral Commission gazetted for the nomination of parliamentary candidates, the National Unity Platform [NUP] is struggling to convince losers not to contest as independent candidates.

According to Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesperson of the party, they have tried to speak to several losers to dissuade them from seeking the nomination, but they seem not to be making headways. Ssenyonyi told Uganda Radio Network that ever since they released the list of their parliamentary flag bearers about a fortnight ago, a committee handling elections has been listening to petitions and talking to the petitioners into supporting the party’s flag bearers. 

He fears that having a crowded field of party members in an election, might gift their opponents in  constituencies they would otherwise have won. 

“We are in touch with these people although they have their frustrations understandably so because everyone thought that they were entitled to the flag. Ultimately, it could go to only one person. Some are opting to step down and we hope others will follow suit,” Ssenyonyi said. 

He added that if such people insist on coming as independents, they will not support them despite their relationship with the party or its leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. 

“We are engaging all of them to step down for the flag bearers, but if they refuse, we can’t do much about it because it’s their right to contest as independents but they shouldn’t expect any form of support from the party,” Ssenyonyi said. 

Several aspirants who were never chosen expressed dismay on the criteria that was used to select flag bearers. Some accused senior party members or their surrogates of soliciting bribes from candidates. He who paid the highest amount ultimately got the ticket, they alleged. 

There were also media allegations of exchanging the party’s flag for sexual favours although URN couldn’t independently verify this.



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