Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission has distanced itself from allegations that it has allowed candidates to place campaign posters in public places including the electoral commission offices.
The Commission says that they cannot allow a poster on their premises because they do not promote the candidature of any candidate.
While meeting the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission on Wednesday, National Unity Platform Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi indicated to journalists that the elections body has allowed candidates in the ruling government to pin posters in public places. He cited places like the offices of the electoral commission.
However, our reporter has observed that there are no campaign posters on the perimeter wall of the electoral commission but on the Offices of Ministry of Works which neighbors the electoral commission. Other places that have campaign posters of the incumbent President include the Ministry of Internal affairs, at the Face Technologies Premises and at the Entebbe International Airport.
Now the Spokesperson of the Electoral Commission Paul Bukenya says that although the law allows candidates to put posters in different places to engage the electorates, the commission cannot determinewhere to put or not to put the posters.
He says that the commission does not specifically legislate or guide on how and where the posters should be placed adding that general guidance is done by the Local Authorities through the laws and ordinances passed as a way of maintaining public order and theinstitutional polices.
Bukenya says that as the Electoral Commission, they provide for responsible use of posters, guide caution and penalize the abuse of the posters like defacing and tearing of candidate’s posters.
When contacted about the Posters pinned at the perimeter wall of Ministry of Internal Affairs Premises, Jacob Shems Siminyu, Spokesperson of the Ministry told our reporter that the ministry of has no interest in the posters and it is the responsibility of Kampala Capital City Authority to regulate where posters are pinned.
On November 11th, 2020, Special Forces Command officers arrested Effrance Musimenta Mbagaya, the Acting Director Human Resource and Administration at Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) for defacing campaign posters of President Yoweri Museveni pinned up at the UCAA head office.
A week later, Magistrate Juliet Nakitende, at Entebbe Chief Magistrate’s Court granted Musimenta bail and the case was adjourned to December 16th, 2020.
Fred K. Bamwesigye, the UCAA Acting Director General, says Musimenta acted out of ignorance of the Presidential Elections Act regarding campaign posters saying that authority awaits the court’s decision on the matter.
Asked whether campaign posters for other presidential candidates can be pinned up at UCAA offices and Entebbe airport, Bamwesigye says UCAA does not grant permission and that those of Museveni were put up by non-staff.
A staff at the airport opined that it is understandable if only Museveni’s posters can be pinned up at Entebbe International Airport. “Museveni is a candidate but is also the President and only his posters can be pinned up here.” the source said.
Asked what would happen if any other candidates’ posters are pinned up at the airport, the source interjected, saying, “How would those posters even get access to the airport premises?”
Efforts to get a comment from the KCCA spokesperson by our reporter have been futile as he could not pick or return our calls after telling our reporter to call him after 30 minutes when he expected to finish a the meeting.