Published by ACFIM on

Tax payers set to lose UGX1.7 billion on election petitions

Supreme court judges during a hearing (Photo courtesy of DW)

Besides the dilapidated public sector that is constrained to offer public services such as education, health, water, energy among others. The government has granted the judiciary UGX 1.7B ($480,593) to hear election petitions for parliamentary and local government that result from government negligence in matters of electoral democracy.

The permanent secretary to the Judiciary, Pius Bigirimana acknowledged receipt of the money in a press report with New vision dated 7th June 2021. This money would have saved many taxpayers who are dying due to of lack drugs in health facilities, the money would have equally purchased beds for patients who are sleeping on hospital floors and dispensaries country-wide

Periodic elections in Uganda have turned to be a burden on taxpayers in every election aftermath. This is attributed to deficiencies in electoral laws that regulate the modus operandi of an election. 

Secrets Known and its readers have failed to comprehend whether Uganda’s election is a laissez-faire process? Does the Electoral commission role stop at setting out the election road map, nominations?

Secrets known noticed that 90% of purported cases in the election aftermath are open voter bribery during campaigns that include offering money, gifts like tents, hand hoes, soap, salt, sugar, and domestic animals to voters among others. 

In the 2016 election aftermath, ACFIM conducted a survey on members of the 10th parliament on campaign finance reforms. 66% of Members of parliament interviewed agreed to regulate and limit the amount of money in campaigns. On whether they agree or disagree if a candidate who is found guilty of vote-buying by the courts of law should lose their seats and be banned from contesting any elections again? 43% strongly agreed, 36 % agreed, 19% disagreed and 2% strongly disagreed.

Findings from ACFIM’s survey of members of the 10th parliament on campaign finance reforms in the 2016 general election aftermath should be a stepping stone for the government and electoral commission to save the Ugandan taxpayer. Secrets known and pro-democracy activists have always advocated for a cap to regulate and determine how much money should be used during campaigns.

SecretsKnown appeals to the electoral commission and government to save taxpayers money in every election aftermath that would have been invested in some sectors for public service delivery.

SecretsKnown beseeches Uganda’s electoral commission to go beyond just organizing an election that is often unlevelled in terms of campaign spending. They should strongly condemn open voter bribery during campaigns. In their 2016 post-election reports the Electoral Commission lamented over the monster of commercialized politics and yet there is no formidable and proper measure to address this societal problem.

SecretsKnown finds it mindboggling that ever since the enactment of electoral laws on voter bribery, the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has never prosecuted anyone found guilty of vote-buying.

To make matters worse, upon nullifying and declaring the seat/position vacant in courts of law, the culprit is allowed to re-run on the same position after causing financial loss to the national treasury and Ugandan citizenry. In conclusion, secretsknown finds the Electoral Commission and DPP reliable for causing financial loss to Ugandan taxpayers due to failure in playing their role.

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