Published by Patra K on

NUP agents returned unspent campaign money

Betty Nambooze receiving NUP Party cards from Kyagulanyi Ssentamu last year. ( Photo courtesy of Mulengera news)

National Unity Platform party members and campaign agents have set an unprecedented behavior in Uganda’s electoral history by returning the campaign funds that were not spent during general elections 2021.

Secrets Known understands that the money was intended to facilitate polling agents but the agents reportedly chose to work as volunteers hence saving the funds. Mukono district party supporters led by Municipality Member of Parliament-elect, Hon. Betty Nambooze returned UGX 25 million ($6,809.6) to NUP leader, Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi.

In her message, Hon. Nambooze reported that whereas the party facilitated the agents with the funds for vote protection, “The people said they could not take the money to protect your votes because the votes are not for Bobi but for the people”.

Prior to this act, it was widely believed that money is the major motivation for political socialization in Uganda. Campaign money whose accountability modalities are either loose or non-existent has been the subject of misappropriation.

The media has been awash with stories of party agents diverting campaign funds. For example, In September 2020, Police Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) investigated the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party officials over alleged theft of money meant to facilitate its candidates who stood for the just-concluded special interest group’s elections.

In January 2021, NRM’s Finance and administration director, Ms. Hajjat Medina Naham, ordered the immediate arrest of two top NRM officials in Dokolo District after they failed to account for more than UGX20m ($5,500) meant to facilitate the campaigns of District LC5 contestants.

Just last week, Police in Jinja arrested and detained at the infamous Nalufenya, another NRM official for allegedly stealing money meant to pay agents of President Museveni in last month’s elections. The suspect is Ms. Norah Bamutaze a staff at the office of the National Chairman.

The other political parties have also had their fair share of mishandling of political finance funds. But a case where a leader of the party takes and returns utilized funds is the antithesis of the highly commercialized attitudes on political participants in Uganda today.

Secrets Known tried to reach out to the spokesperson of the National Unity Platform Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi via telephone to find out how the party achieved this unprecedented action, but communication to him was futile since he didn’t pick our calls.   

The secret known for National Unity Platform Party agents’ return of UGX 25 million is remarkable and perhaps also laudable as it is exactly what a young democracy needs to entrench political parties as wheels on which democracy moves.


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