National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, said his party was prepared despite the confrontations by security agents during the just-concluded campaigns.
“We are prepared. We have been across the country and we have seen that the people are ready for change. They have shown us support and swam in swamps to meet us even when the security blocked them from listening to us. We were blocked and taken through the villages where they thought we didn’t have support but they got more surprised and now they know the truth and they are scared,” Mr Kyagulanyi said.
He added: “I would like to charge Ugandans to use this chance and make Uganda new again… Ugandans are [more] united than ever and this is the time to showcase it. Let us go to the polling stations and cast that protest vote. Vote overwhelmingly and defeat Museveni with a knockout.
“Remain peaceful because I have always advocated for that even through my music many years ago. After voting, keep a reasonable distance and protect your vote. Use your camera and phone because we need as much evidence as possible.”
Mr Emmanuel Dombo, the NRM secretariat’s director for communication, said they have deployed 57,984 polling agents to protect their candidate, Mr Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa Kaguta’s vote.
Mr Museveni is seeking re-election for the sixth time.
“The candidate has done whatever it takes. He has done the campaigning. He has trained his campaigners and has thoroughly explained the message through almost all media houses and online platforms available in the country. All the deployments have been done for vote protection and now we are waiting for the hour,” Mr Dombo said.
Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate Patrick Obio Amuriat urged his supporters to stand firm, cast their votes and guard it to ensure that they are not robbed of victory.
He said all the opposition presidential candidates have witnessed brutality from security forces and that now is the time to stand together.
“Many of our comrades are languishing in prisons. But the message that Museveni wants to pass to Ugandans is that ‘dare me not’. Fellow Ugandans, casting your vote to elect your leaders is your democratic dispensation. Turning up to the polling station is your democratic duty and so my calling today is [for you] to turn up in large numbers like never before as a way to disapprove the dictator and ensure that we have a new political order in this county,” he said.
Transfer of power
Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, the Alliance for National Transformation’s presidential candidate, said for close to six decades, Uganda has never had a peaceful transfer of power and asked the voters to make it possible today.
“Politics is at the centre of our day-to-day lives and if politics goes wrong, then everything else gets negatively affected,” he said.
He warned Museveni and the ruling NRM party members against instilling fear in voters and said all the anomalies created by the electoral commission must be rectified.
“The incumbent is doing almost everything to cling onto power. For the last 65 days, we have been moving around the country encouraging people to turn up in large numbers to vote. The regime has been discouraging people from going to vote because they know it is to their advantage when the turnout is low,” he said.
The spokesperson of Independent candidate, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde’s Renewed Uganda, Mr Arthur Katabalwa, said his candidate’s message reached all Ugandans who will vote him into power.
“The campaigns have been chaotic but we are confident that the masses out there have heard what Gen (Tumukunde) had to say and will therefore vote for us,” Mr Katabalwa said.
Army spokesperson Flavia Byekwaso Wednesday said they have deployed multi-layered security personnel to manage the intelligence, surveillance and on the streets to ensure Thursday’s elections are peaceful.
“We have beefed up security in 35 districts where we think are hotspots,” she said in an interview.
EC chairperson Simon Byabakama assured the country that his team was ready for the elections and had already delivered election materials across the country. He said the presence of security agents on polling day will be to ensure that there is no chaos.
Reporting by Patience Ahimbisibwe, Arthur Wadero, Franklin Draku, Thembo Misiari Kahungu & Derrick Wandera