The Democratic Party presidential candidate, Mr Norbert Mao, has petitioned the Electoral Commission protesting what he called President Museveni’s interference in his campaign programme.
In a petition dated December 29 to the EC chairperson, Dr Badru Kiggundu, Mr Mao said he was scheduled to campaign in Ntungamo District on December 29 according to the official EC programme only to be told that President Museveni was going to campaign there.
“According to the programme unanimously approved by all presidential candidates on October 29 2010, I was scheduled to be in Ntungamo District today (December 29). The programme also schedules candidate Yoweri Museveni to be in Ntungamo (today) and yet he was there from yesterday,” Mr Mao stated in the petition.
According to the EC guidelines issued to the presidential candidates, a candidate is required to spend one day in each district. Two candidates are barred from campaigning in the same district on the same day.
Mr Mao claimed that candidate Museveni colluded with some of the EC staff who altered the programme to suit the NRM candidate. “This morning, we spoke to the Vice Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Mr [Joseph] Biribonwa, and we raised our complaint. He told us that we should check the online version of the presidential campaign schedule where the programme has been amended to show that today we are not in Ntungamo but instead are supposed to be having a rest day. All this is new to us,” Mr Mao complained.
DP’s Secretary General Mathias Nsubuga, according to Mr Mao, was never notified about the changes in the schedule. He said: “....the Electoral Commission deleted our programme in Ntungamo and never made provision for another date. This means the Electoral Commission does not expect us to campaign in Ntungamo at all.”
Ntungamo District is Mr Museveni’s birthplace. Currently his wife Janet Kataaha Museveni is the MP for Ruhaama County which is in the same district.
The Electoral Commission spokesperson, Mr Charles Ochola said Mr Mao was being unfair to the EC. “I think candidate Mao should be more direct to his objectives. The programme we have here says candidate Museveni was supposed to be in Ntungamo District on December 29. According to our programme, Mao was supposed to be in Kabale District on December 29. We are working on the old harmonised programme and connivance cannot happen,” Mr Ochola said.
Mr Mao has demanded that the Electoral Commission apologises to them and also amend the programme. “We also demand that a meeting of all candidates’ representatives be convened to review and harmonise the campaign programme,” reads the petition in part.
Meanwhile, Mr Mao, who visited Mbarara Hospital yesterday, expressed concern over the poor conditions patient subjected to. The patients at the hospital, many of whom sleep on the floor due to shortage of beds, said they also compete for space with rats.
“Instead of coming for treatment, you are getting more iffected. I am very worried, especially over new born babies in this hospital,” Mr Mao said. Mr Mao accused the government of not caring about people’s welfare.