Museveni leads outdoor advertising war
Museveni leads outdoor advertising war
Walking down Kampala streets today makes one nostalgic of how the city looked like during the festive season in earlier years. Only difference with the scenery today is that instead of the traditional Christmas colours, the city is now overwhelmingly flooded with party colours ranging from Blue, Red, Green, purple but most dominant of them all is the famous yellow NRM colour.
Taking a panoramic view, one easily sees long stretches of the “old man in a hat.” The posters of the Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni are conspicuously displayed along vast areas of Kampala streets in the suburbs of Wandegeya, Mulago, up Makerere hill Road, Kikoni, Nakasero, Parliament Avenue, Nile Avenue, Bombo Road among others.
From the biggest bill boards, trees, buildings. electric poles, Roundabouts, to the littlest poster on the side walk and even the barricades on the roads under construction. Mockingly, some of these posters have even been mounted on top of other candidates’ posters. One could explain this move as NRM’s strategy to garner support from the opposition in Kampala.
This parade of posters has turned into an exhibition war with every candidate fighting to take up as much space as possible. It is as though the outcomes of the 2021 Elections are dependent on how much display one gets. Opposition candidates mostly incumbents haven’t been excluded from this showcase battle. It is impossible to keep count of the innumerable posters of Erias Lukwago (Mayor, Kampala) that have filled prime areas of Kampala from Ntinda through to Kololo Terrace on trees, Building walls, bill boards, electric poles etc.
Coming from Kireka through to Kiira, one can undeniably notice the gigantic billboards featuring Semujju Nganda (MP Kiira Municipality.) Munyagwa Mubarrak (MP Kawempe South) has gone digital with the Wandegeya Market LED display screen showcasing his campaign. Some candidates have even gone ahead to emblazon their portraits and campaign messages on cars, taxis and trucks.
Not only has the NRM party conquered the streets with a downpour of posters but have gone out of their way into Print media spaces. The 19th October New Vision, Daily Monitor and Bukedde newspapers featured a protruding Museveni Poster. This shows that the NRM is leading the publicity war and by far beats opposition in this combat. How much do candidates really have to incur in publicity in terms of paraphernalia if they intend on competing equally?
Obviously, there is a vast contrast in the numeric of the outdoor campaign posters across the city with the Ruling party in the win leaving opposition parties at the tail end. This may be attributed to insufficient funds within other political parties as seen in the difficulty to fund their activities.
Estimates show that an outdoor LED Screen display requires 2 million per month for an ad to run 10 times a day. A standard 48 by 14 feet static billboard goes for 1 million on rent monthly. These ads would have to run the entire campaign season which is an average of 5 months. How then will political parties with limited finances pull this off?
This ushers in the question of Political Party Funding. A statement issued out by ACFIM shows that Governemnent has consistently ignored section 14(b) of the on the Political Parties and Organizations Act which states that: “in respect of elections, Government shall finance political organizations and parties on equal basis;”. For as long as the question on political party funding by government is not resolved, by the end of the Election season we are yet to see Kampala and other cities across the country choke on the colour yellow because other parties cannot afford to keep up with expenses of printing paraphernalia at the same rate as the NRM.