Opposition Democratic Party (DP) has reaffirmed its commitment to fronting a presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections despite delaying to submit supporter forms to the Electoral Commission (EC) for verification.
Section 10(b) of the Presidential Elections Act provides that a presidential candidate’s nomination shall be supported by not less than 100 persons who are registered voters, from not less than 98 districts, which form two thirds of all the districts of Uganda.
As of yesterday, the EC had received supporter signatures of atleast 22 presidential aspiring candidates of which four had been verified and 18 under verification ahead of the nominations scheduled for 2nd and 3rd November 2020. Notably missing on the list was Nobert Mao the DP presidential flag bearer which raised suspension that the party could have backed out on their plans to front a presidential candidate in the 2021 polls.
However, while addressing the party’s weekly press conference in Kampala today, Enock Opio the DP spokesperson said their decision to front a presidential candidate in the coming election still stands and by Thursday this week, they will have submitted the reguired signatures to the EC.
He explained that in a country where the freedom to interact with voters by the opposition is curtailed, the party decided to use the period of collecting signatures to also interact with the voters as a strategy to gain grass root support.
“The reason we have taken a little longer is because we are using this period as a chance to interact with the voters. What we have been doing is building rapport with the voters, identifying agents in every village such that when we roll out our campaign strategy definitely we shall know that we have pillars in every village so it has just been strategic that we take a little longer to submit our signatures. But they are ready, today or tomorrow or the other day, we shall be handing them to the EC.” Explained Opio
Opio turned down pleas by some party members who don’t want the party to front a presidential flag bearer in the coming polls noting that the preserve of determination of whether to have a formal coalition is for the National Delegates Conference which sat last month and agreed to front a presidential candidate.
“Our major objective it to take state power and there is no other way you can satisfy that objective without fronting a presidential candidate unless there is such a formal arrangement with other political institutions that we should back another party’s candidature.” Said Opio
He added “I tried to interrogate the motive behind the calls from these people that we shouldn’t front a presidential candidate and realized that they believe that if DP fronts a presidential candidate, their support base is going to be shuttered. For they only focus on their interest, they are not looking at the general objective of the party.”
Meanwhile, the DP has unveiled a contest aimed at engaging Ugandans in the design of an official campaign poster for the party’s presidential flag bearer in the 2021 general polls.
The challenge dubbed “Mao 2021 presidential poster contest” targets Ugandans below the age of 30 who will be required to design a campaign poster of Nobert Mao with the winner taking home 1 million shs, the 1st runner up 500,000 shs and 2nd runner up 300,000 shillings.
According to DP spokesperson Enock Opio, the party will share the photo which must be used by all the participants on its official Facebook account “Democratic Party Uganda” by close of business today.
“We call upon the youth below 30 years, you may not be necessarily professional but as long as you know you can paint a design, you send applications to us and then you join the #Mao2021presidential postercontest. I know this is something new in our country but it is something that is worthy doing because we believe it brings the power down to the people”
He said participants will be required to submit their applications to the party’s email address firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp number 0700727704 starting tomorrow and the winners will be determined by 31st October 2020.