In a case of familiarity which breeds contempt, hundreds of National Resistance Movement candidates contesting for mayoral and Councilor seats in some of the cities and municipalities have bypassed the party secretariat in Kampala and today stormed the country’s highly restricted State House, residence of the national president, to demand ‘facilitation cash’ for their electoral activities.
The candidates, from namely Kiruhura, Mbarara, Jinja and Mbale arrived by 7am in Entebbe, camped at the Municipal offices until after 4pm when they tried to access State House. President Yoweri Museveni, who arrived in Entebbe in the afternoon, waved at the crowd and proceeded to State House.
The Special Forces Command-SFC officers at the entrance of State House blocked the rowdy group, and asked them to present a list of their complainants and also their demands.The candidates are demanding that their facilitation ranging from 500,000 shillings to three million shillings should be paid to them in advance before the elections that are slated for Monday, January 25th, 2021.
They say that the facilitation will help them pay polling agents and also conduct last minute campaigns, more so now that they face very stiff competition from the National Unity Platform-NUP. However last week’s egenral election results did not indicate any strong NUP presence in Kiruhura and Mbarara.
President Museveni, while exiting State House, briefly addressed the candidates and asked them to be patient. He added that he will ensure the NRM secretariat will handle their concerns expeditiously.
Some of the candidates who stormed State House today told Uganda Radio Network off record, that they fear for their money if it is to be handled by the party secretariat.
“Some of us have been allocated 3 million shillings but we know that we shall receive probably shillings 1.5 million because of dealers at the secretariat,” they said.
Many of the candidates turned aggressive when they learnt that the media was also present, “We don’t want media, this is a private issue between us and the party chairman,” they said.
Emmanuel Dombo, the NRM’s Director for Information and publicity, says the candidates should have first sought audience with the Secretary General and then the party chairman if they were still dissatisfied.
“But even this money is supposed to be sent to them a day to the election because it is meant for payment of polling agents, as some may divert this money of they receive it much earlier, ” Dombo added.
The facilitation is part of the shillings 31.2 billion the NRM plans to spend on its candidates’ campaigns and other logistics such as transport, airtime, water for campaign agents and money to print posters.
The facilitation has been earmarked for flag bearers at parliamentary, district, city or municipality level