Published by ACFIM on

NRM money machine sweeps youth electoral college positions in all regions

Winners of the Youth Member of Parliament Elections from the different regions. (Photo courtesy of the Independent)

Last week on February 1st 2021, Elections for special interest groups in Uganda specifically youth were held in four regions of the country namely Northern at Pece stadium in Gulu, Eastern at Mbale Secondary School, Central at Mubende National Teachers College and Western at Ntare Secondary School.

Over Six thousand three hundred seventy-three (6,373) delegates turned out to cast their vote in the electoral college in their respective regions. Delegates were comprised of Chairperson youth, Finance secretary and secretary for female affairs of all sub counties in all districts regionalised.    

National Resistance Movement Party swept all the four contested Parliamentary slots on polling day. ACFIM monitors reported that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidates eclipsed other contestants in terms of spending on delegates on the eve of elections.

UGX 250,000 (68.55$) was reportedly cashed out to each delegate before they voted. This translates into about UGX 1.5 billion ($419,276) that was spent on 6,373 delegates country wide.

The secret known is that the NRM party used money as their major trump card in college elections. As predicted, the party swept all the regional youth Parliamentary positions.

In eastern Uganda, the candidates did not have to waste time canvassing for votes, rather, they were observed welcoming voters with money and hotel bookings for accommodation in their camp. Such was the story in all the regional electoral college elections.

It is reported that in Western Uganda, the winning candidate paid UGX 100,000 ($27.42) per voter and also offered accommodation to delegates. The source of these monies is still a mystery to ACFIM observers on the ground, but it is an indicator of the extent of commercialisation of electoral politics in Uganda.

It is regrettable for the norm and practice that has been inculcated in youth politics and what remains a political mystery is the source of money to finance these practices.

It is high time Uganda embraces campaign legislative reforms that regulate excessive use of finance in campaigns for electoral integrity with leaders who are responsive to citizenry.          

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