The Cost of Participating in Uganda’s Presidential Race

Published by Patra K on

The Cost of Participating in Uganda's Presidential Race

For the first time in the history of Uganda,11 candidates have been nominated to
contest for the highest office in the land-Presidency. Three of these are army Generals namely, Gen. Yoweri Tibahaburwa Kaguta Museveni (incumbent), Gen. Henry Tumukunde (former minister of security) and Gen. Mugisha Muntu (former army commander).
The others are John Katumba (24-year-old youth), Nancy Linda Kalembe (the only
female) candidate, Norbert Mao, Joseph Kabuleta Kiiza, Patrick Amuriat Oboi, Fred
Mwesigye, Willy Mayambala, and last but not least, former pop star – Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (a.k.a. Bobi Wine).

Campaigns have now kicked off in earnest and will run for 65 days. This is thus a short campaign period compared to the previous elections when candidates had 90 days of campaigning. The implication is that a presidential candidate must cover a minimum of two districts per day if he or she is to reach out in all the 146 districts. A short campaign
period requires a candidate to have a robust campaign team in every district and heavy presence on media and campaign paraphernalia.
Already, shortly after nominations, independent candidates like John Katumba (Mr) and Nancy Linda Kalembe(Ms) were concerned about the high cost of campaigning not least the cost of maintaining the security personnel allocated to them.

ACFIM studies indicate that in order to have a fair shake at the presidential table, a
candidate will have to spend upwards of UGX 1 trillion ($270million). Short of this
money, a candidate risks being just an “also participant”. Candidates for Member of
Parliament are estimated to spend upwards of UGX 500 million (135,000).

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