Candidates vying for different political offices in Ntoroko District
are struggling to carry out virtual campaigns due to lack of radio stations in
In July, the Electoral Commission announced a ban on open-air campaigns, in the
wake of coronavirus disease. The commission advised political aspirants
to utilize virtual platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, radio and
television talk-shows as avenues of reaching their constituents.
In the Tooro Sub-region, Ntoroko is the only district that has no
single radio station.
Additionally, most parts of the district including Kibuuku Town
council where the district headquarters are located, have a very poor
telecommunication network signal.
Most of the mobile phones switch to the Democratic Republic of Congo - DRC
mobile network signals when in some of the Sub Counties.
This has also made it hard for politicians to use social media platforms to
Edward Kahuma, the Ntoroko District Speaker who is vying for the
Butungama Sub County LCV Councillor seat, says they are resorting to
door-to-door campaigns, which is hectic and time-consuming.
Kahuma explains that as a youth, he also finds it very costly to travel from
one village to another without holding any rally or having access to mass
communication to speak to the voters about his plans for the Sub County once elected
as a councillor.
“You find that when walking, you need to move with your campaign team. They
need money and food. Also, the households are sparsely populated which makes
the door-to-door campaign so hard,” Kahuma explains.
The Ntoroko Woman Member of Parliament, Anne Mary Tumwine, says that the media
houses they can access are in Fort Portal Tourism City, which is several
kilometers away from Ntoroko District.
She explains that even the radio stations in Fort Portal charge between 600,000
Shillings and 1 Million Shillings per hour, an amount she says is expensive on top
of the high transport costs.
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William Kasoro, the NRM flag bearer for Ntoroko District LC V, says that the
challenge of lack of media houses in the area has been worsened by floods that
have submerged a bigger part of the district.
The floods started about two months ago when Lake Albert burst its
banks and the State Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Musa Ecweru, has since
described them as the worst in the whole country.
Kasoro says the alternative options of meeting small groups of
people in certain areas like Kanara Sub County and Kanara Town Council is no
longer possible because the two areas are submerged. Some voters have since
shifted from the place and meeting the remaining ones, one requires using a
canoe, which is also costly.
As some politicians are struggling to campaign in Ntoroko, others
are becoming pessimistic that most of the areas in the district may not go to
polls early next year if the floods problem is not addressed.