2026 FAR YET SO NEAR FOR A CONSTITUENCY MP

Published by Patra K on

2026 far yet so near for a Constituency MP

Hon Muhammad Ssegirinya purchasing equipment for Kawempe North Hospital (Photo Courtesy of Hon Ssegirinya's twitter account)

Winners and losers in the just-concluded February 2021 general elections have embarked on constituency spending to soften the ground for the next general elections that are in 5 years’ time. 

According to the report conducted by ACFIM titled unregulated campaign spending and its impacts in Uganda, it pointed out that Members of Parliament and District LCV Chairpersons spent between UGX 2M to 4M per month in politically competitive constituency towards social contributions. 

SecretsKnown notes that winners and losers are always preoccupied with activities aimed at politicking and softening political ground throughout the five years by making their presence felt within the constituencies. This is done through contributing towards social functions like burials and weddings; paying school fees and medical bills for voters, contributing to women and youth savings, and income-generating groups among others.

Kawempe North legislator Hon. Mohammed Segirinya just after swearing-in has embarked on securing re-election in 2026 by buying hospital beds to address the crisis of shortage of beds in the constituency hospitals. He has already procured an ambulance for the constituency-an act that has become synonymous with the MP office. Taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, Segirinya has recruited a COVID -19 task force that is facilitated to pick COVID-19 patients from their homes and deliver them to the health centers for treatment. 

The study of unregulated campaign spending and its impact on electoral participants established that the net investment in political/electoral processes is inspired by speculative motives of political returns that accrue to a candidate who wins an election. 

The electorate has over time developed a narrative informed by precedents, that politicians are self-seeking, only interested in amassing wealth but not serving their constituencies. As such, the electorate has relegated and replaced the primary role of MPs of effective representation, oversight, and legislation with direct service delivery and social philanthropy. In this case, voter inducement like voter bribery only serves as currency in an election season. 

SecretsKnown believes that civic consciousness alone to change the behavior of the electorate is not enough given that the immediate needs and demands of a voter during an election season define how the voter with trust issues relates with the candidate that is a career politician.

The perception society has towards politicians can only change when politicians behave and conduct themselves better while in public office. Unfortunately, the process through which political leaders are elected, that is commercialized creates self-seeking leaders who can’t conduct themselves better to win public trust. 

SecretsKnown notes that however much a politician goes out of his or her way to serve the constituency, whether by the book and sticking to the constitutionally defined roles or playing the role of government to directly provide services, voters care less. To them, politicians get a lot of money, and spending a fraction of it on voters is justifiable. 

Most Members of Parliament who have been newly sworn are now under the pressure of being re-elected in 2026 and must spend a fraction of that money on their constituencies. Commercialized electoral politics has created a political norm and practice of political spending on political office at entry and maintenance of office as part of the political cycle. 

SecretsKnown advocates for civic engagements to all stakeholders in electoral politics including politicians to deconstruct the narrative and perception that is fanning commercialized electoral politics. 

END. 

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