The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, Patrick Amuriat Oboi has been denied access to radio stations in Soroti.
Amuriat, who has been canvassing for votes in the Teso sub-region, says that his plans to have talk-shows on several radio stations have been frustrated. He notes that radio stations that include Etop, Delta and Kyoga Veritas where he had booked for talk shows declined to host him citing intimidation from government.
Speaking to the electorate in Kalaki town on Thursday evening, Amuriat said that he is not surprised by the conduct of government in curtailing their freedom.
"UCC [Uganda Communications Commission] said; 'Delta if you host POA, we’ll revoke your licence.' In this campaign, there is a lot of oppression and I understand, we are not surprised and we’ll continue to fight that oppression," said Amuriat.
Paul Omer, the coordinator and head of Amuriat campaign team in Teso sub region says three radio stations declined to host their candidate.
"Right from the time when Eng Patrick Oboi Amuria, the flag bearer for FDC when he came to Teso, many radios with the evidence that I have here, turned us down including Etop radio. First of all, they had given us 7-8 o'clock. Later on, I was sent a message that sorry we have been told not to host you. Secondly, we were meant to be hosted by in kind by Veritas, but Veritas turned it down said management has said Shs 3 million when actually we were going to the radio," said Omer.
Some managers from the radio stations who preferred anonymity said that the matter was beyond their hands. However, the state minister for ICT, Peter Ogwang, who was accused of allegedly blocking Amuriat, said that he has no powers to control or stop FDC from accessing any radio station in Teso.
"It is laughable, I don't have control over management of the day to day running of each radio station in the country. To the best of my knowledge and ability, I only have UBC which UBC I don't have control over it. Two, they have their own programming which I don't interference with. If you’re the president[ial candidate] there is a procedure to how you get airtime. As ministry of Information we gave guidelines on what needs to be followed already so as far I want to categorically say that Eng. Patrick Oboi Amuriat, my brother please I am not involved nor is any minister involved or govt involved," Ogwang said.
In July, the Electoral Commission announced that persons campaigning for political offices would not be allowed to hold open-air campaigns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the commission advised aspirants to use virtual platforms including radios to reach their constituents.