Published by Patra K on

What should Ugandans expect from legislators that spent massively during campaigns?

The parliament of the Republic of Uganda. (Photo courtesy of Global Press Journal.jpg)

Voters are the unsung heroes of the electoral process without whose participation there would not be anything called votes.  Votes come from voters and it is these votes that produce elected leaders. Votes are the ones that produce the numbers that make an election because elections are about numbers.

With the commercialized nature of electoral politics in a largely poor and economically vulnerable society, some political candidates in the just concluded elections openly bought votes to win positions at the parliamentary level. This is evidenced by the 102 election petitions that have been filed in the courts of law countrywide where majority rivals allege voter bribery.

SecretsKnown notes that the study conducted by ACFIM in 2018 titled Unregulated Campaign spending and its impacts on electoral participants was an eye-opener of terrible times in Uganda’s periodic elections. The report pointed out a minimum of UGX 500 million ($141,480) as a cost estimate for contesting for a parliamentary seat in the 2021 general elections.  

This was highly demonstrated during spending wars in the entire campaign. The comparative campaign spending analysis in An ACFIM preliminary report on interrogating the influence of money on the outcome of elections, SecretsKnown noted expenditure by candidates of over UGX 504 billion ($142M) for the month of November and December.

SecretsKnown imagines and contemplates the financial bruises and injuries nursed by men and women who participated in the races for Member of parliament with only 529 making it through. One can envisage the type of business that will be conducted in the house as some members of parliament are always hiding in the parliamentary canteen and building in fear of arrests by money lenders and banks.

SecretsKnown ponders on how political leaders in public office are planning on recouping the monies they invested in election campaigns after taking an oath of office. This is clearly postulated in ACFIM’s study of unregulated campaign spending and its impact on the electoral participants in Uganda.

SecretsKnown calls upon the citizenry and its readers to monitor closely how elected leaders will conduct business. Often, elected leaders make and pass policies that are self-centered and do not resonate with the needs and aspirations of voters.

SecretsKnown believes that the direct impact of corrosive campaign spending on voters is poor service delivery. These political leaders ought to effectively represent and lobby resources in order to improve their living standards. It is vivid with the bloated 11th parliament with such huge numbers, voter’s / constituencies demands, interests, and needs will not be represented and deliberated on.

SecretsKnown advocates for sanity in Uganda’s developing democracy through sanitizing electoral politics in Uganda’s periodic elections. Political cultural practice and behaviorism of perceiving politics as an investment on the return must be condemned in strongest terms and stringent actions such as electoral reforms must be put in place to curb this monster. Hungry and indebted leaders cannot offer quality services to the citizenry.

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