A photo of an agent of Sheema Municipality parliamentary aspirant Dicksons Kateshumbwa distributing knickers to women has sparked outrage online.
In the photo, a female campaign agent donning a t-shirt with ‘Katesh’ (short for Kateshumbwa) inscribed on is seen handing over underwear to women gathered in a compound.
In another photo, another agent, in a similar campaign t-shirt, is seen distributing sanitary pads to women.
Ugandans on social media expressed varied reactions on the photos from the Kateshumbwa campaign, but the majority seemed to criticize Kateshumbwa for bribing voters.
Some wondered why the aspirant had decided to offer his voters knickers and pads, while others argued that the fact that Kateshumbwa had realized that women in Sheema Municipality could not afford panties was testament to the NRM government’s failure.
“I hope he won’t be accused if any beneficiary contracts an STD. MUJOOGA!!!!” wrote social critic Frank Gashumba.
Mark Baguma Muhwezi replied: “They distributed pads with knickers, and I don’t see any problem with it. How much is a kicker and pads compared to a kilogram of Posho.
So if they can fail to buy a kilo of Posho of 2K, will they buy Knickers of 5K. U might find that they have used knickers for more than a year and even putting on torn ones.
So I don’t see any problem with Katesh’s agents distributing knickers. Go on Katesh as long as you are helping the people in need. If they never wanted them, they wouldn’t have come for them.”
While it is criminal to bribe voters with money and items, many politicians make such donations during campaign periods, and in some case at polling stations on voting day.
In the 2016 election campaign, President Yoweri Museveni promised to offer free sanitary pads to all school-going girls.
But months to the end of his current term — and as he seeks another five-year mandate at the helm — Museveni is yet to fulfill this pledge.
Museveni’s wife Janet, who is the minister of education and sports, has over the years struggled to explain why government has failed to find money to fulfill the sanitary pads pledge.
It was against this background that some people hailed Kateshumbwa for giving women pads, but questioned the motivation behind his generosity.
Kateshumbwa, the former Commissioner for Domestic Taxes at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), is contesting against Dr Eliodah Tumwesigye, the minister of science, technology and innovation.
Minister Tumwesigye, Kateshumbwa and others will face off in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party primaries ahead of the 2021 elections.
But the race is reportedly tight between Tumwesigye and Kateshumbwa of the NRM — and one of them is expected to either accept defeat after the party primary election or defy the rules and stand as an independent candidate.