A number of candidates from different political groups in Kyotera District have come out to condemn acts of defacing their campaign posters. Many posters of National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidates and those of the opposition have been defaced, igniting counter-accusations among rival groups.
The NRM candidates accuse the National Unity Platform (NUP), Democratic Party (DP), and other groups of defacing their posters.
According to Rachael Nakitende, the NRM flag bearer for the Kyotera Woman Member of Parliament, her posters worth Three Million Shillings were destroyed in different parts of the district during the free-Bobi Wine protests last week. She says that it has affected her campaigns since people may think she withdrew from the race.
Nakitende explains that the opposition supporters have also threatened to interfere her campaigns claiming the NRM is behind NUP’s Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s alleged persecution.
However, the opposition candidates have equally accused the NRM party of using groups, police, and other security operatives to deface their posters especially in major trading centres and towns.
Sebastian Kimera, the NUP Flagbearer for District Councilor -Kalisizo Town Council, says they are equally affected due to police’s involvement in destroying their posters. Kimera appealed to the police to desist from unprofessional conduct and avoid being partisan.
"I personally saw police people tearing down posters of NUP and DP candidates. The people who tear NRM posters are unknown and so are their intentions" Sebastian said
According to John Paul Mpalanyi Lukwago, the DP candidate for Kyotera County MP, there are different groups backed by some politicians who mastermind the defacing of the posters, which is wrong because it takes away the core purpose of politicians,
"What is important from us is to offer service to the people of Kyotera. When we enter such malicious battles we miss out on that important role" he said.
When contacted, the Masaka Regional Police spokesperson Muhammad Nsubuga said defacing campaign posters and destroying banners is a crime and rampant across the region.
He further appealed to the aggrieved parties to report the matter to police or produce proof that police officers are involved in defacing posters.
According to the Parliamentary Elections Act, persons who maliciously deface, remove or tear any election poster of any nominated candidate commits an offence and is liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding 600,000 Shillings or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.