NUP PARTY EXORCISES COMMERCIALISED ELECTORAL POLITICS IN CENTRAL REGION
NUP Party Exorcises Commercialised Electoral Politics in Central Region
National Unity Platform (NUP) created a political wave that neutralized, deflated, and overran the influence of money on electoral outcomes. Whether it was Presidential or Parliamentary, there is a sense in which campaign spending did not matter.
By creating a situation where what seemed to have mattered was the emblem of the party umbrella, NUP’s wave made a successful attempt at equalizing the conditions for political competition.
Having been in existence for only two months prior to nomination, and having navigated the legal interstices challenging the registration of the party, NUP marshalled a political wave that swept central Uganda, leaving only party candidates standing.
The young party now becomes the leading opposition party with 58 legislators in the 11th Parliament, while the once opposition powerhouse, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) will play third fiddle. The dominant National Resistance Movement maintained its numerical strength in Parliament with 313 legislators and still counting as the party has won more seats from the special interest group elections.
The oldest political parties standing, Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) and Democratic Party (DP) will each have nine legislators. However, the number of independent legislators stands at 77.
Until January 14, 2021 when Uganda went to the polls, money stood out as a major determinant of electoral outcomes for a number of reasons. Money is an essential and unavoidable part of modern-day elections, and experience has proved that access to resources makes some voices louder than others, and this holds true for electoral candidates.
Candidates with deep pockets or a greater ability to fundraise have always stood a better chance of winning elections than those who do not. The secret known is that it is possible to de-commercialize Uganda’s Politics.
ACFIM monitors in Lwengo district report the story of the Member of Parliament – Elect, Twaha Kagabo who trounced the high spending NRM candidate, Hajji Abbas Kiyimba. It is estimated that Kiyimba spent in excess of UGX 1billion ($270,000) on inducing voters with donations of credit facilities to groups of women and youth, and direct cash giveaways.
On the contrary, all that his competitor, Kagabo spent on was nomination fees of UGX 3million ($810), and some balance that printed a few posters. In his heart of hearts, he knew he had no chance of overcoming the mighty spending power of Hajji Kiyimba. In fact, he did not even show up at the district tally center.
After the Lwengo district returning officer announced the winner, it was the NUP supporters that came to his home where he was already sleeping and broke the news, much to his surprise.
The wave of NUP party, worked so effectively in neutralizing the power of campaign spending as a determinant for electoral outcomes for general elections 2021.