KAMPALA – The National Unity Platform-NUP party has called for the intervention of the Electoral Commission following complaints by their members that some media houses especially in upcountry areas are denying them air space.
Joel Ssenyonyi, the NUP party spokesperson says that they have received complaints from their members especially in Lango, Northern and Western regions indicating that they are being denied airtime on some media houses to market their programs to voters.
This comes a few days after a section of the media carried a story indicating that Lango radio owners had decided not to host NUP candidates for fear of losing their broadcast licenses because of numerous threats from Resident District Commissioners.
According to Ssenyonyi, there is need for Electoral Commission to come out clearly on the matter given the fact that they are headed for scientific campaigns because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision by some broadcasters to deny candidates radio space contravenes the 2013 Uganda Communication Commission Act. Recently, UCC issued guidelines stating that stations should not turn away candidates running for presidential and parliamentary seats and that they should accord equal opportunity to candidates without discrimination.
Responding to the Lango issue, UCC said candidates who have been denied access and have evidence of payment should exercise their rights to complain and obtain redress from the UCC tribunal as provided for under the UCC Act.
Still at the same press briefing, NUP announced plans to sue individual police officers who masterminded the raid on its party offices last week.
NUP has contested the raid in which security says was intended to recover material similar to that used by security forces that was being used by the party members.
However, Ssenyonyi insists that for as long as the NUP attire doesn’t bare police or army insignia, they cannot be called security attires. He challenged them to wear those berets and overalls they confiscated if indeed they are security uniforms.
Mathias Mpunga, the NUP Vice President for Central region invited police and army commanders for education on the law if at all that is what is causing the confusion. He says what makes security attire is the police or army mark and not just the look.