Voters speak out on their candidate choices

A polling assistant verifies the fingerprint for a voter at Aripezu East Polling Station in Ayivu West Division in Arua City. PHOTO BY FELIX WAROM OKELLO

Ugandans yesterday voted to decide who will be their next President and representatives in Parliament for the next five years. Across the country, thousands lined up to exercise their constitutional right. 
During the campaign period, candidates traversed the country and their constituencies to sell their manifestos. This helps voters make informed choices on voting day. 
Daily Monitor spoke to some voters about the issues that informed their choices.
Ramathan Ssekandi, 31
The LCI chairperson of Mbuya Zone Two in Nakawa Division said he was driven by the demand for change to cast his votes in favour of Opposition candidates.  
“I am a self-employed man and a family person with two wives. My children are still young. You can see the situation is calm and many people have turned up to vote. This is because people are tired of the old regime and they want change. I have voted NUP candidates throughout,” he said.

Mr John Okoboi, 30 
Mr Okoboi, also a resident of Mbuya Zone Two in Nakawa Division, said he is tired of the same leadership. He said President Museveni has been in power for 35 years and time has come for him to leave.
He said service delivery has deteriorated and services that used to be free have now been commercialised. 

“Look at how the hospitals are operating. I recently took my nine-year-old child suffering from anaemia to Naguru Hospital but the nurse on duty told me ‘we work here up to midday’. I had to take the child to Bugolobi Nursing Home. These are things that did not exist in the past regimes. I used to work at Uganda Breweries as a contractor in the brewing section, but due to Covid-19 lockdown, I was asked to stay at home. And now I am jobless,” he said. 

Zulfa Tiko, 56
According to the resident of Mbuya Kinawataka Zone One, the lockdown informed her choice in the polls. Ms Tiko, who hails from Yumbe District, operated a makeshift restaurant at Arua Park before the lockdown. 
“We are from Yumbe and came to Kampala in 1990. I have four children and because of lockdown, there is nothing we can do. The lockdown has hit us hard because they closed our business and KCCA chased us away from the streets. We need change,” she said.

Muhammad Nsereko
The Kampala Central Division Member of Parliament said Ugandans have developed mistrust in the current regime that he said has turned against its own people. He said he is dissatisfied with President Museveni, although he did not mention who his preferred choice for presidency is.
“This election is a sham and not fair because it has been characterised by violence, human rights abuses and communication shutdown,” Mr Nsereko said.He said attaining change in leadership through the ballot is very difficult in Uganda. 

Rashid Katuramu 
The resident of Kabiito Town Council, Bunyangabu District said his choice is the incumbent.
“For president, I voted for Museveni because he is a hardworking person and he promised many things which I know he will do,” said Katuramu.

Bura Okello, 60
The retired police officer from Kulambiro Zone in Nakawa Division has voted in Uganda’s elections since 1980. Okello said Ugandans have never witnessed a peaceful transfer of power and that for the last 35 years, there has been no change in governance.
“I am happy to vote change. The voting has gone on very well and all is well. Many people have come to vote and I have waited for about an hour to vote so I am happy that I may be making my last contribution to change the situation in the country,” he said.

Victoria Namutebi
The first time voter said it was new experience for her, emphasising that her contribution may go a long way in shaping the future of this country.
“It feels good taking part in deciding the country’s future. It feels like you are an important citizen in taking part in deciding how the country should be governed,” she said.

However, Ms Namutebi said she was disappointed with older people whom she said did not turn out in large numbers to vote as the youths did.
“It broke my heart seeing elders sitting at home and not coming to vote. I left people at home and they did not want to vote. They said they do not want their hearts broken because the people they vote are not winning. They said they feel like they already know the results even before voting,” she said.

Doreen Kugonza, Fort Portal City
“I voted for Yoweri Kaguta Museveni because he has done a lot for the country which include roads, extension of water and electricity to rural areas. He is still doing more.”
Joseph Irumba, Fort Portal City.
“I voted for Robert Kyagulanyi because we need change and he is the only answer. He promised to solve the issue of unemployment. Uganda now needs a person who is young, not old people who are spoiling our country.”

Mr Stanley Ayiko, Jinja
“I voted for Mr Robert Kyagulanyi because he showed aggressiveness among the presidential candidates. He is the only person who can confront and challenge Museveni.”

Reporting by Franklin Draku, Irene Abalo & Lominda Afedraru Scovia Atuhaire, Alex Ashaba, Denis Edema