KAMPALA – Opposition Chief Whip in Parliament, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, has castigated the ruling NRM party for not following the Electoral Commission guidelines requiring a candidate to collect 100 signatures from each district.
On Friday, National Resistance Movement deputy Secretary General Richard Todwong presented to the Electoral Commission over five million signatures from 142 districts, figures that are way above the required 100 signatures each aspiring candidate is supposed to collect from at least two thirds of the cities and districts of Uganda.
“We are submitting early enough to enable the commission to carry out the verification exercise on time,” Todwong said while handing over the signatures to the Electoral Commission.
Ssemuju believes NRM’s five million voter signatures endorsing President Museveni aim to create the impression that the ruling NRM has majority support ahead of the forthcoming presidential election.
“Mr Museveni is doing what he has done before; wanting to present his NRM and his candidature as a very popular candidature. Do you think EC can verify Museveni’s signature and say this one is not right?” he said.
Ssemuju adds that Museveni has his targets and he is using these signatures to achieve them without being questioned on how he arrived at them. He says it is also possible that some of those whose signatures are appearing there have not endorsed him.
“So there are two things Mr Museveni is trying to achieve, first, he wants to create an impression that the whole country is behind him, two, he wants to appear special from other presidential contenders that his signatures have been endorsed by five million people, therefore, he is ahead of everybody,” he explains.
However, NRM Women League Chairperson Lydia Wanyoto believes this is proof that their party has mass support and the five million signatures are a representation of the NRM strength.
“There should be no reason why anybody would be questioning the so many signatures Museveni got, he is the sole candidate of the NRM party. All women NRM leaders in Uganda without exception wanted to give the signatures and they supported the president. We had a conference of 5000 women and all of them wanted to sign,” she said.
At the handover, speaking on behalf of the Electoral Commission, Leonard Mulekwa, the acting EC secretary, commended NRM for honoring the national road map.
“We opened up yesterday and NRM is the first to respond”, Mulekwa said adding that a certificate would be issued on completion of the verification exercise.