Mystery surrounds the National Resistance Movement (NRM) sources of funds and her exorbitant spending. Ahead of the 2020/2021 general elections, NRM has already begun her spending spree with procurement of over 68,000 Bicycles for the Local Council one chairpersons and over 2000 motorcycles for Sub-county chairpersons that will be used for mobilization. A random search around Kampala revealed that on average an Afro road master bicycle costs about UGX 400,000. At this rate, the 68,000 bicycles would translate into UGX 27,000,000,000 (USD 7,500,000). While a brand-new Bajaj motorcycle in Uganda costs about UGX 4,500,000 (USD 1,250) therefore 2000 Bajaj motorcycles go for UGX 9,000,000,000 (USD 2,500,000).
The current exorbitant spending of NRM has left many concerned Ugandans questioning the sources of NRM funds. On 16th August 2020, while flagging off the bicycles, Mr. Museveni tried to clear the air on the rising doubts of the sources of NRM funds for procurement of bicycles. He said that the procurement of the bicycles had been financed using three sources which are: money raised from 20 per cent of his salary remitted monthly to the party treasury, remittances by NRM Members of Parliament (MP) and through fundraising by some undisclosed party members.
Currently President Museveni earns UGX 3,600,000 (USD 1,000) as monthly salary and a Member of Parliament earns UGX 6,100,000 (USD 1,694). If the president and each NRM Member of parliament contribute to the NRM Party 20% of their monthly salary which is UGX 720,000 (USD 200) and UGX 1,220,000 respectively, we would then expect that by the end of the five-year tenure NRM would have received UGX 43,200,000 (USD 12000) from President Museveni and UGX 22,033,200,000 (USD 6,120,333.3) from the 301 NRM Members of Parliament. This would then total up to UGX 22,076,000,400 (USD 6,132,222.3).
NRMs clear legitimate sources of funding such as contributions from the president and Members of Parliament 20% monthly salary, and every financial year government contribution to political parties represented in Uganda’s parliament ideally cannot be able to facilitate NRMs exorbitant spending spree. And as a matter of fact, we are knowledgeable that in Uganda, section 14 (1) of the Political party and Organization Act restricts contributions from foreign sources not to exceed 20,000 currency points which is an equivalent to UGX 400,000,000 within any period of twelve months. So what ACFIM implores NRM and other political parties to do is disclose their extra sources of t finances which will help foster transparent and accountable political financing.
ACFIM believes that if money from unknown sources (dark money) continues to find its ways into Uganda’s politics, every sane Ugandan should worry because such dark money predisposes a country to high risk of being captured by individuals or corporations who have intentions of looting and plundering the countries resources for personal benefit.