Candidates in Entebbe Decry High Cost of Door to Door Campaigns

Orikiriza, standing on Democratic Party- DP ticket, says voters are capitalizing on the door to door campaigns to get money dubbed as "sanitisers" and other items such as soap, soda and sugar.
NRM candidates including Stephen Shyaka ( adjusting face mask in the centre) engage a resident in Katabi-Busambaga

Audio 5

A number of candidates in the parliamentary and local government races have decried the high cost of conducting door to door campaigns.

The strategy of door to door campaigns is due to the ban on holding political rallies as a way of curbing the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Two weeks ago the Electoral Commission and Ministry of health revised the number of people candidates can meet at a time from 70 people to 200 people.

However, despite meeting more people, some candidates and their campaign agents say the door to door campaigns are also very expensive. In the previous general elections, candidates would carry out door to door campaigns and also hold rallies with some attracting over 1000 people.

As a result, candidates would budget for the venue, refreshments among other items.

Entebbe Municipality has 68 elective positions at parliamentary and local government. It has 2 divisions A and B that have a total of 24 villages.

Alex Gitta, the Division B/ LC3 Chairperson seat contestant on the Alliance for National Transformation - ANT ticket says his team has to print 10,000 posters every week because he meets at least 300 people daily. He however declined to disclose how much he has incurred so far.

Gitta however says ANT candidates are moving in groups to share costs such as transport, fuel and other logistics.

Meanwhile, Micheal Kakembo, the National Unity Platform - NUP candidate in the Entebbe Municipality race, says he would spend shillings 2 million weekly on a rally that would attract about 10,000 people. But he adds that he would hardly spend on the door to door campaigns because the target voters would attend the rallies.

However, with the current door to door campaigns, he has to spend the same amount of money on a daily basis.  Kakembo says he has been meeting on average about 500 voters daily and campaigning non-stop could have a toll on one's health.

He adds that the method of campaigns are not favourable for candidates, especially those in the opposition because many people have lost sources of livelihood or are struggling to survive due to the negative impact of COVID-19.

The 2014 Census figures indicated that Entebbe Municipality has a population of  79,500.

Some of these people work at Entebbe international Airport, that reopened after a seven months' lull, bars and restaurants, cinemas, beaches, hotels and other businesses that have been grossly affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

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Hellen Orikiriza Katongole, contesting for  LC4 Woman Elected Councillor for Central II ward, agrees with Kakembo.

Orikiriza, standing on the Democratic Party- DP ticket, says voters are capitalizing on the door to door campaigns to get money dubbed as "sanitisers"  and other items such as soap, soda and sugar. She says that the method is thereby expensive since candidates will campaign for over 60 days. She has decided to move with other DP candidates to share costs of the campaigns.

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Edrisah Matovu alias Figo, the National Resistance Movement -NRM Entebbe municipality spokesperson, says candidates also have to cater for the teams they move with. These include campaign agents and supporters who provide entertainment, distribute posters, mobilise voters on the ground for meetings, publicise campaign schedules among other activities.  

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However, Francis Makumbi, says that NRM candidates are fearing the door to door campaigns because voters will demand for accountability since the incumbent MP Rosemary Tumusiime,  LC3 / Division A chairperson Michael Mutebi and 11 of the 21 municipal councillors subscribe to NRM.

Amidst the costs, Makumbi says that door to door campaigns are more effective in populiarising candidates and their messages and also an opportunity for voters to give feedback to politicians.

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Makumbi says some voters are not demanding for money or other items from opposition candidates because they desire better leadership and also improved service delivery within the municipality.

One of the voters known as Agnes Musawo and resides in Katabi-Namate, told DP candidates who found her at home to return to the electorate when they get elected.

She adds that not all voters want money or items from the candidates. However, many voters expect something from the candidates. 

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