Opposition Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) has cited a number of hurdles that nearly derailed their attempts to have their flag bearer Gen Mugisha Muntu nominated.
Addressing the press on Thursday, the Party’s Electoral Commission (EC) Chief Dan Mugarura disclosed during the course of soliciting for Presidential signatures they on one hand had to deal with voters who wanted money in exchange for their endorsement.
“Because of commercialization of politics, they say I sign you give me Kitu kidogo which is against the values of ANT. A political entity is not a business entity, we don’t work for profit and we get funds from well-wishers, supporters and members,” Mugarura said.
Besides, he says the party was forced to seek many more signatures in less time when it discovered that voters who had endorsed them had already seconded other Presidential aspirants.
“So you would go and have signatures amounting to about 150, you go to the Electoral Commission and then they say 100 have signed for the president. So we got those challenges but because of resilience and hard work, we managed.”
On the other hand, he added that a number of Ugandans they interacted with during this course declined to tender in their particulars due to fear of being persecuted.
“Some people fear giving out their identities, giving out their telephones. They think security will follow them to say, why did you endorse an opposition candidate?”
To make it to the ballot, presidential aspirants are supposed to submit a minimum of 100 signatures from at least 98 districts.
Meanwhile, ANT came out today to support the decision by the Electoral Commission to hire a foreign firm to print ballot papers.
While this has been condemned by several stakeholders as hemorrhaging national resources to foreign countries, Muntu says it might help with transparency.
“Printing ballots in Uganda wouldn’t be a problem but the problem that we feel uncomfortable with is the level of dishonesty, the level of fraud, lack of integrity,” Mugarura said.
He says ANT couldn’t trust the NRM government with such a pertinent task when their own house is in a mess.
“You saw scuffles, there was boxing, there were bullets in the NRM Primaries where even registers were being hidden, where even return forms were being destroyed,” he pointed out.
“So if the ballots especially for the presidency or members of LC5 are printed here, they can give a template to Mugarura as a printer, they give the same template to Kakaire and you find that we have very confused ballots moving around the country.”