NRM members have pinned President Yoweri Museveni’s 2016 campaign posters and the NRM mayoral aspirant George Labeja in Gulu town drawing protests from opposition members.
The campaign posters are pinned strategically in various parts of Gulu Municipality such as the main roundabout and electricity poles.
“Vote NRM Yoweri K Museveni 2016,” Museveni’s campaign reads.
“Our Mayor George Labeja, with a vision for a modern Gulu City”, read Labeja’s posters.
The decision by NRM members to decorate Gulu town with Museveni and Labeja’s campaign posters has not gone down well with opposition officials.
The opposition officials are demanding the removal of the posters saying they violate Electoral laws.
Moses Abonga, the LC III chairperson Laroo Division says although the mayor’s posters don’t seem to violate the law, it is clearly a form of campaign before election time.
Abonga says the president’s poster clearly asks residents to vote for him, which goes against the recent directive by Electoral Commission warning aspirants against early campaigns.
He argues that in any case if the NRM officials wanted to publicize the president, they should have only used his photos without asking residents to vote for him before the official campaign period.
According to Abong, if it were opposition members doing this, they would face arrest or intimidation from the authorities.
He cites an incident last year when Police ordered residents to pull down posters welcoming Norbert Mao, the Democratic Party President home.
Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Gulu LC V chairperson says the entire opposition is concerned about the posters.
George Labeja says he only put his photo on the posters as Mayor Gulu Municipality and there is no law he is breaking.
Simon Komakech, the Gulu NRM administrative secretary says they pinned the president’s Museveni during his visit to Gulu town to launch Gulu Main market.
According to Komakech, they are using the campaign posters to mobilise support for Museveni since he is the NRM sole candidate.
David Butti Anyanzo, the Gulu District Electoral Commission Returning Officer down plays the issues of the posters.
He says that section 3 (1) of the presidential elections acts 2005 states that an aspirant may consult in preparation for his or her nomination as a presidential candidate within twelve months before the nomination date.
He claims that the posters could be a form of consultation and not campaigning.
However, same law requires the aspirant to introduce himself or herself to the Commission and notify the relevant local council and the police of the area to which he or she goes.
Paul Bukenya, the Electoral Commission spokesperson has advised the complaint to petition the Commission in writing so as their complaint can be investigated.
He however, asks the local leaders to differentiate between grassroots party mobilization and general elections.