Published by Patra K on

Nrm Should Stop Propagating Monetized Politics

Photo courtesy of Cap. Jacob Opio

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) often referred to as a “mass” political party due to the large number of political offices it holds and support garnered based on previous elections came out last week saying they would be releasing over UGX 24billion (USD 6,486,486). This is for the country wide door to door campaigns ahead of the 2021 general elections.
NRM secretary-general Justine Kasule Lumumba said each village branch would receive UGX 300,000 (USD 81), parish UGX 100,000 (USD 30), sub-county UGX 300,000 (USD 81), municipality/city division UGX 3million (USD 810), district and city UGX 5million (USD 1,351). 

Uganda currently has 70,626 villages, 10,595 parishes, 2,184 sub-counties and 146 districts according to the electoral commission official statistics. Kasule Lumumba claims that the money for facilitating the NRM local leaders is part of the UGX 15billion (USD 4,054,054) the finance ministry recently released. This money was for the five political parties represented in Parliament and NRM received UGX 12billion (USD 3,243,243) because of its numerical strength in Parliament.

Before campaigns officially begun, NRM procured over 68,000 yellow Afro road master Bicycles for the Local Council One chairpersons and over 400 motorcycles for Sub-county chairpersons to be used for mobilization. On Bicycles and Motorcycles alone, NRM spent over UGX 30billion on their procurement. With over 24billion expected to be spent on door to door campaigns, this kind of enormous spending is continuously creating and cementing a perception among many Ugandans that one needs huge sums of money to be able to participate effectively in elective politics.

Such behavior is propagating a culture of monetization of politics which continues to unlevel the political playing field. It has now seemly becoming an acceptable norm for political parties to compete for political power on the basis of money and material gains other than ideological orientations. This political culture is killing Uganda’s democratic growth.
It must also be noted that during the 2015/2016 general elections, each village received UGX 500,000 from NRM in two installments of UGX 250,000. Every time this money is received at village level the electorate takes it as token of appreciation from the “old man of the hat” President Yoweri Museveni and always want to partake of its share. This money has in the past caused confusion in villages because committee members who receive it oftentimes share it among themselves and when other voters in the village get to know of this, they get angry and turn violent.

This act must be stopped because it signals the electorate that elections are about money. NRM must be in touch with reality of knowing that when huge sums of money are allowed to flow into elective politics, it erodes the functioning of democracy leading to an unlevelled playing field. This exposes politicians to captivity by those who bankrolled them hence causing democratic reversal.
Going forward, the NRM party should instill a voluntary spirit among its members who should come out to work because of the love for the party and not be driven by material inducements which do not propagate monetized politics.

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