Published by Patra K on

We are choking on debts

NRM losers meeting H.E Yoweri Museveni where they asked for financial bail outs in Kololo last week. (Photo courtesy of Nile Post)

Former Presidential candidate, John Katumba, has revealed to ACFIM that he is trapped in a post-election campaign finance debt of UGX 850 million (($233,000). Yet Katumba is one of the numerous former candidates who are nursing financial bruises as a consequence of campaign spending on 2021 general elections.

On Saturday, April 10, 2021, President Museveni found himself in a very ticklish situation at Kololo Independence ground when a group of over 400 division chairpersons and councilors from Kampala who lost in the 2021 general elections each asked for a bailout package of UGX 50 million.

Museveni was informed by the financially crippled politicians that delay by NRM Secretariat in the release of funds to flagbearers was a factor in opposition political parties gaining ground against the NRM in Local Government elections. In Kampala, the president was told, some party flagbearers were forced to rush to “loan sharks” and sell off personal properties to finance their campaigns.

SecretsKnown has established that holding an NRM flag in Kampala was so expensive in the sense that voters expected NRM flagbearers to have loads of money. This is because the NRM party has over time demonstrated by word and deed, that money is never a problem. And this was on show during NRM party primaries where money flew along electoral queues. Thus, to meet the voter demands, some NRM candidates acquired loans to facilitate their campaign activities.

It’s therefore not surprising that the Division Chairpersons and Councilors from Kampala Capital City made a clarion call to President Museveni, to bail them out of the post-election debt entanglement they find themselves in. Each of them is calling for a cash bail-out of UGX 50 million ($14,000).  

 “You cannot borrow to go and join politics. If someone gets to that level of asking you for money so they can join politics, do not vote for him. Money should be invested in business, not politics,” said Museveni.

Museveni requested the group to have an engagement in future at a later to discuss more constructive ways of handling issues affecting Ugandans than issues that make the party lose direction.

SecretsKnown has learned that some of the politicians who join NRM, do so as a means of feathering their nests such as by positioning themselves for government appointments−election losers have often been seen running to president Museveni to solicit for job placements; money skimming from affluent NRM cadres; and protection of ill-gotten wealth common among public servants.

One of the NRM senior cadres and Presidential advisor, Abdul Nadduli while being interviewed by daily monitor last year affirmed that “the struggle to obtain the party ticket to contest for elective positions is no longer driven by the desire to transform the country and promote the party ideology but to find a way to get money from the government.”

When elective politics is rendered as a business venture where one invests with expectations of recouping in the long run, then we shall continue having many cases of politicians after losing an election seeking for a financial bailout. It is high time voters and politicians are conscientized to appreciate the fact that politics is about voluntary service and not a money-making enterprise.

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