The parties say the government usually allocates more money to the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM even where the law states that all parties eligible should get an equal share. In the last elections, the government released 15 billion Shillings which, according to the opposition was supposed to be shared equally between the parties represented in parliament. The NRM took more than half of it.
Opposition political parties have disagreed on the response
they should take towards what they call unfair distribution of government funds
allocated to political parties in line with the Political Parties and Organisations Act.
The parties say the government usually allocates more money
to the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM even where the law states that all
parties eligible should get an equal share. In the last elections, the government released 15
billion Shillings which, according to the opposition was supposed to be shared equally between
the parties represented in parliament. The NRM took more than half of it.
The President General of the Justice Forum, Asuman Basalirwa
says that the government has been violating this law by using the ‘numerical
strength’ basis, even where they are supposed to use the ‘equal’ basis. Basalirwa, whose party is the immediate past chair of the
Inter-Part Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD), says all efforts to have funds for
general elections shared equally as per the law, have failed.
The numerical strength basis, according to Basalirwa is supposed to be used on funds meant
for the day-to-day activities of the eligible political parties. Under the arrangement, the NRM is favoured because it usually
accounts for more than one-third of MPs, meaning it takes more than two-thirds
of the funds.
Following the refusal by the Ministry of Finance, Planning
and Economic Development to adhere to these provisions, Basalirwa says, his party opted out of the last IPOD meeting and has now decided to go to
court. He was speaking at the launch of a report by the Alliance for Campaign
Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), on the study on election campaigns financing during
the 2021 general election, which has been arguably one of the most highly commercialized
in Uganda’s history.
//Cue in; “When I
Cue out far we have gone.”//
Gerald Siranda, the Secretary-General of the Democratic
Party supported the court process, saying what the NRM and the government are
doing is illegal. He argued that funding opposition political parties is an important
part of the democratic process because it produces the best leaders for the
//Cue in; “It also assures you….
Cue out: ….expect the worst.”//
The Spokesperson Uganda
People’s Congress- UPC, Michael Osinde appealed to the opposition in Uganda to
have internal tolerance and also try to practice tolerance with their opponents. He instead urged for continued dialogue and other forms of
engagement over the financing issue, instead of withdrawing.
//Cue in; “There’s something…
Cue out… don’t run
The opposition politicians were of the view that when the NRM
gets most of the money, it gives their candidates a big advantage over the
others. But Farida Nambi, a former Parliamentary Candidate in Kampala says each candidate was given 50 million Shillings, which she called
too little considering the many constituencies she had to traverse.
She says instead she needed at least 1.8 billion Shillings.
//Cue in; “It was about…
Cue out….a beautiful poster.”//
On his part, an independent candidate for Kumi County, Simon
Obilan said if he had money to match that of his opponents, most of whom were
funded by political parties, he would have won the race. Instead, 35-year old Obillan says that he lost all his businesses, cars,
houses and friends. He calls on the government to find a way of rescuing the politicians
who failed in their bid to join parliament so that they try to recover their
//Cue in; “I had to mortgage…
Cue out….To be approached.”//
Presenting a summary of the study, ACFIM’s Eddy Kayinda noted
that is the political parties are not well funded, they end up losing their
value to the democratic process. He cited corruption in the parties, like some cases that
were reported over the granting of party flags, the kind of candidates that end
up representing the parties, among other negative impacts.