OVER UGX 504 BILLION SPENT ON CAMPAIGNS IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 2020

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Over UGX 504 billion spent on campaigns in November and December 2020

The minimum campaign spending by Member of Parliament candidates political in November and December 2020 estimated is UGX 504 billion (136.3 million). Most of this money is raised from private sources and there is no provision for mandatory disclosure of campaign finance sources in Uganda’s electoral laws. The cost of elective politics is ever-increasing in Uganda.

ACFIM tracked campaign spending in 70 constituencies and 9 cities in 29 districts. The districts monitored form only 19.8% of the 146 districts in Uganda. The Electoral Commission nominated 2,664 candidates for members of parliament and by December 30, 2020, ACFIM estimates them to have spent on an average of UGX 189 million ($51,780).

 A graphical illustration of campaign spending by Members of Parliament in November and December

The experience of contestants is that voters have gradually become accomplices due to the insatiable demand for money, gifts, and donations from the contestants. This has landed the electoral candidates and elected leaders into financial distress. 

The voter-induced spending is attributed to several factors including; servicing voters’ personal bills and community projects among others. Some voters are loyal and will “reward” those who feed them on the money.

Conversely, the electorate has ended up electing ideologically bankrupt leaders that paid them off. This is manifested in the quality of debate on national issues but also the extent of manipulation when it comes to controversial discussion or passing of bills, bylaws, and ordinances e.g. removal of the age limit, removal of term limits, extending term limits.

Unregulated campaign financing is allowing dirty money into politics, which poses a threat to Uganda’s democratization process. Actions of leaders that buy their way to electoral positions have resulted into regression in the growth of democracy.

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