Published by Patra K on

Government Chief Whip pledges support for Campaign Finance Legislation.

ACFIM's technical team meeting with the Government Chief Whip last week.

As part of an onerous strategy of mobilizing for bipartisan support for campaign finance legislation, Alliance for Finance Monitoring met and held an informal engagement with the Government Chief Whip Hon. Minister Tayebwa Thomas last week.

The Government Chief Whip overwhelmingly welcomed the idea of campaign finance legislation as a way of sanitizing our electoral democracy for sustainable electoral integrity in Uganda’s multiparty dispensation. He pledged his support and vowed to interest the government in the capping of campaign expenditure, donations, and declarations of sources of funds for political campaigns.

ACFIM brought attention to the Chief Whip that money is a necessary component of political competition, but lack of information on campaign financing makes it hard for the electorate to make informed decisions and choices. ACFIM’s technical team stressed that the lack of legal provisions on mandatory disclosure of sources of campaign money poses an existential threat of allowing money laundering and other financial crimes to thrive.

Alliance for Finance Monitoring notes that commercialized electoral politics facilitates political corruption in return as elected leaders engage in dubious ways of recouping their money. The team informed the Government Chief Whip of the inevitability of running for political office without spending money, yet the role of money in politics is one of the biggest threats to Uganda’s fragile democracy.

The technical team from ACFIM also made it known to the Chief Whip that Campaign Finance Reforms were deliberated upon in the 10th parliament with electoral bills the government had tabled in July 2019.  During intense debate on the third and final reading held on February 26, 2020, Members of Parliament proposed to have a standalone campaign finance law rather than scattering different pieces of campaign finance provisions in other legislative reforms. Thus, campaign finance provisions were deferred to the 11th parliament for fresh tabling in a comprehensive manner.

Hon. Minister Tayebwa Thomas was informed by the team that the rationale for Campaign Finance Legislation is moored on international standards of regulating money in electoral politics. These include; transparency and openness in election campaign financing, Fairness in political competition, Integrity of elections, and accountability in leadership.

The team further engaged the Government Chief Whip on legislative advocacy on how public funding to political parties is managed and audited. ACFIM stressed the failure of political parties to account for public funds to the Electoral Commission that discourages the spirit of transparency and accountability in political financing in Uganda.

ACFIM addressed the Chief Whip on government’s failure to implement section 14 A(b) of Political Parties and Organisations act (amended) 2010 that provides for public funding on an equal basis for political parties represented in parliament in respect of elections. ACFIM further proposed amendments of public funding of political parties in respect of elections based on the number of nominated candidates for general elections than representation from the parliament as the law requires.

The Government Chief Whip respectfully differed with ACFIM’s proposal of public funding of political parties in respect of elections based on the number of nominated candidates. He asserted that parties need to mobilize tirelessly to be represented in parliament in order to benefit from public funding. He informed the team that in fact section 14 A(b) of Political Parties and Organisation amended (2010) that provides for public funding of parties represented in parliament on equal basis in respect to elections should be omitted.

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