I am still in the race, says Kalembe

Nancy Kalembe on nomination day in Kyambogo University sports ground

It was recently reported in some media that she was considering quitting the race.

ELECTION WATCH 

Nancy Linda Kalembe, 40, is the only woman among 11 presidential candidates contesting in the 2021 elections.

Despite being able to canvass for votes in 70 districts so far, things have not been going according to plan lately.

It was recently reported in some media that she was considering quitting the race.

She sat down for a chat about challenges facing presidential candidates.

How has the race been so far for you?

 There have been a lot of challenges. The Police have harassed us, while resident district commissioners have barred us from freely accessing some districts.

They feel they own districts yet the Constitution of Uganda gives all Ugandans equal access to all corners of this country for as long as we are lawful in our actions.

Unfortunately, contesting for the presidency in this country is like committing treason.

The state harasses you from the start. It influences some people to start avoiding you.

You are like a bandit to them. There is also a problem of commercialisation of politics.

In Uganda, not many people want to deal with you if you do not have the money. So it has been difficult for everybody in the race. 

Why did you join the race?

I have always harboured the dream of leading this country and that thought has lived with me since I was 14 years.

I have been preparing for this moment for the last 26 years.

Part of the preparation process has included taking leadership classes, as well as researching about different leaders around the world. So I feel ready.

But news flying around shows otherwise.

In fact, your campaign has run into financial difficulty and you have admitted from the start. Was it poor planning on your part?

For me, running in this race is like a parent preparing for their child’s first day at school.

Yes, you might have done your best from the time that child was born to when they start school, but there can be intervening circumstances that can make it hard to make that perfect start.

Things have not gone according to plan but we have managed so far. As I speak, we have covered 70 districts. 

But you have not campaigned for the last two days. Your supporters have been waiting for you in some districts in vain. What is happening? Are you out of the race?

Not at all. We have just paused until we find between sh125m and sh150m, which we need to complete the remaining districts.

I sat down with my team and we agreed. We said let us tell our people what is happening.

And there is no shame in doing this because anyone who lives in Uganda knows how difficult things have been this year.

Even companies have had to lay off workers because of COVID-19.

In the meantime, we are taking advantage of electronic media, and our people are listening to us and getting the message.

The good thing with scientific campaigns is, one does not have to physically go to the voters to look for votes. 

From the onset, you have positioned yourself as a pro-change candidate, who opposes the continued rule of President Museveni. Why not coalesce with other candidates to remove Museveni? 

That would be perfect if we had the same methods of work.

While some of us want to be peaceful, there are some people who cherish force.

There is no leader who goes into defiance without expecting teargas and bullets which has resulted in loss of life.

So it is difficult to work together. As a mother, I renounce violence, unfortunately, others do not look at things that way.

What is your view on presidential debates?

I am not happy that we will not have one this year. I would have loved our voters to listen to our campaign manifestos and articulation of issues.

It would have taken the focus off all the teargas and Police brutality.

By cancelling it, they removed the platform for civil debate, which is what democracy needs to thrive.   

You have been quoted by some media as saying the election outcome for the 2021 elections is already known and that it is President Museveni who will be announced the winner. So why are you contesting?

I have been a sportswoman for most of my life. World records have been held by different individuals from time to time.

Just because the record holder is still there does not deter you from trying.

So if you like, we are in it, even when the record holder, President , who has ruled this country for 34 years, is in the race.

We have a firm belief that we can surprise the record holder come January 14.

Just because he is the incumbent and has all state apparatus does not mean he is invincible.

History has told us that incumbents can be defeated. We saw that in Malawi, in Libya and other countries. 

We are calling upon voters to go out in big numbers on the polling day and cast their votes.

I urge our voters to stay there until all the votes are counted. We feel that can go a long way in discouraging those who bent at altering the will of the people.

Carry your mask so they do not find an excuse to force you out. We are also asking our people to carry their phones and capture videos for evidence so that the Government does not confuse us when it comes to announcing the outcome.

Where did you get money for campaigns? 

God provides in ways that sometimes we do not predetermine and we do not make choices.

So along the way, there are many people who have stood with us.

That is why I have been sending out thank you messages and encouraging people for supporting us this far.

I have not been doing so just to show them that I have been campaigning but to also make myself accountable to the different individuals who have been supporting me through this.

I spend about sh3m a day because of all the requirements that are needed.

Whether it is fuel, cars, accommodation, food and upkeep for my entourage.

Nancy Kalembe fact file

Kalembe was born on September 15, 1980 to Aida Cissy Kubaaza and George Patrick Bageya, the former Iganga LC5.

She attended Buddo Junior School, Mt St Mary College, Namagunga and Mariam High School for her primary education, O’level and A’level respectively.

She holds a bachelor of science in population studies degree from Makerere University.

She contested in the Miss Uganda pageant, finishing in the top five.

She has also anchored news at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and worked at a number of places before resigning to manage her own business.

Read original article here.