PROJECTS

ACFIM is currently running 4 projects through which the organization is fulfilling her mandate and strategic objectives. These include:

1.Strengthening Citizen Participation in Campaign Finance Reforms
2. Enhancing Citizens’ Participation towards Credible Electoral Outcomes
3. Efforts to Curb Commercialisation of Electoral Processes in Uganda (ECCEP).

STRENGTHENING CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORMS

ACFIM with support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is implementing an annual project that is focused on advocating for campaign finance reforms. This is a follow up project from the previous NED supported interventions that resulted into ACFIM champion the drafting of a private member’s bill that seeks to address gaps in political party and election campaign financing.

Like the predecessor project interventions, this too is informed by the prevalent problem of unregulated use of money in electoral processes, vote buying, and misuse of public resources for partisan politics undermining the integrity and legitimacy of the electoral process in Uganda. The 2011 and 2016 elections were a wakeup call to ACFIM concerning Uganda’s electoral politics when the influx of massive amounts of undisclosed and unregulated funds distorted the political playing field and affected electoral outcomes.

This project is a response to this challenge, sustaining the advocacy for strong campaign finance reform legislation to reduce the negative impact of money in politics. The key interventions under this project include;

 

1. Strategic engagement meetings with Parliament to legislate on the proposed law, and with Local Governments, and citizens to lobby legislators to enact a law on campaign financing. It’s through these strategic engagements that the private member’s bill on campaign financing has been shared and popularized, soliciting for its support.

2. The annual National Symposium on money in politics which is now a signature activity of ACFIM supported by NED. In this space ACFIM brings together participants that include members of parliament, political parties, religious leaders, civil society, and the media to deliberate on political financing. These discussions deepen the understanding and appreciation of the need to regulate money in politics and feed into the advocacy for legislating campaign financing.

3. A National Youth Convention for undergraduate students from universities and other tertiary institutions in Uganda. This convention educates the youth about the dangers of of vote buying and vote selling and mobilizes to meaningfully participate in the political and electoral processes.

4. Community outreach using theater to mobilize citizens to challenge the norms of commercialized electoral politics such as vote buying, and participate in reaching out to elected leaders in parliament and local government councils to support the private members bill on election campaign financing.
Theatre performances are tailored to build the civic competence of community members regarding the commercialization of electoral processes that are rarely discussed publicly in the communities, and encourage the audience to come up with their own solutions.

ENHANCING CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION TOWARDS CREDIBLE ELECTORAL OUTCOMES (CIPACE)

This is an annual project (August 2018-July 2019)- extended to April 2020 and focuses on making a contribution towards the transparent and credible political and electoral processes.
The project objectives include;

(1) To create awareness of possible state capture in Uganda
(2) To document the extent to which money influences the outcome of electoral processes
(3) To strengthen the internal capacity of ACFIM secretariat to effectively monitor, report and engage in political and electoral finance processes.

The CIPACE project is birthed out of the desire to fastrack government undertaking of the electoral reforms recommended by the Supreme Court in its ruling on the Amama Mbabazi petition that challenged President Museveni 2016 victory. Two years to 2021 elections, these recommendations hadn’t been considered. Among these pending electoral reforms was proposal to regulate campaign financing. In addition, the unprecedented experiences of electoral violence in the by elections of Bugiri and Arua has pointed to the changing negative effect of unregulated and highly monetized electoral processes.

The aberrant negative influence of unregulated money in the political and electoral process that is manifesting in form of excessive campaign spending, transactional relationship between voters and elected leaders, electoral malpractices such as voter bribery; and the exclusion of financially disadvantaged groups like women and youth from participating in electoral processes among others underlines the motive for this project.

This project seeks to promote campaign finance reforms in Uganda by establishing the gravity of commercialization of politics and electoral processes on one hand, and extent of “state capture” on the other, with a view of challenging key stakeholders to take relevant action. It also interrogates the relationship between commercialized electoral politics and violence.

The project interventions include;
a. Study on Commercialisation of politics and captivity of state institutions in Uganda. This study sets out to establish the relationship between commercialized electoral politics, corruption, and the declining effectiveness of state institutions.

b. Study on the nexus between unregulated campaign spending and electoral violence. The study seeks to document the extent to which unregulated campaign spending triggers electoral violence.
c. Monitor Campaign Spending by observing elections in newly created districts and bi elections. The monitoring findings inform advocacy for campaign finance reforms.

d. Deliberative civic engagement meetings on campaign finance legislation. This involves engaging grassroot communities to participate and influence policy and legal proposals on campaign financing so that their voices are heard and captured during consultations.

EFFORTS TO CURB COMMERCIALISATION OF ELECTORAL PROCESSES IN UGANDA (ECCEP).

This is an 18-month project (Nov 2018-April 2020) implemented by ACFIM with support from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF). The project contributes towards efforts aimed at addressing commercialization of politics and election campaigns through deepening public awareness about the scale and magnitude of the problem, strengthening civic competence for meaningful citizen participation in elections, improving the relationship between political leaders and the electorate during and after elections, and building momentum for campaign finance reforms.

The project is premised on the current common practice that participating and engaging in electoral politics is principally driven by financial gain.

The project aims to;

1. Improve the quality of elected leaders, and their relationships with their constituents.
2. Strengthen the legal framework for election campaign financing.

The project is being implemented at national and sub national levels. At national level working with Members of Parliament (MPs) on campaign finance reform legislation. At sub national level working in 5 districts namely: Kabale, Hoima, Kyotera, Sembabule, and Kamuli.
The project is also implemented in tertiary institutions (Makerere University Kampala, Kyambogo University, Kampala International University, Uganda Christian University, and Makerere University Business School).

The project is being implemented at national and sub national levels. At national level working with Members of Parliament (MPs) on campaign finance reform legislation. At sub national level working in 5 districts namely: Kabale, Hoima, Kyotera, Sembabule, and Kamuli.
The project is also implemented in tertiary institutions (Makerere University Kampala, Kyambogo University, Kampala International University, Uganda Christian University, and Makerere University Business School).

 

The project interventions include;
a) Monitoring of election campaign financing (spending): This involves training and deploying Campaign Finance Monitors to observe campaign activities in the project areas using a campaign finance database and Mobile App. The monitoring findings are used to increase public awareness about the extent of commercialisation of election campaigns as evidenced and documented through media.

b) Conducting public awareness on commercialisation of elections by producing and publicising digital versions of the study report on Commercialisation of Electoral Politics in Uganda online; producing and promoting infomercials on social media targeting mostly youth aged 18-35 years.

c) Conduct Research/study on commercialisation of electoral politics in Uganda by producing a study report that provides empirical evidence on how electoral participants are impacted by un regulated spending during elections. These findings are informing advocacy for legislating on campaign financing.

d) Engaging with tertiary institutions on campaign finance reforms through awareness meetings with students’ Guild Council members and University Students Guild Electoral Commissions to discuss and work out feasible campaign finance reforms. In addition, information on manifestation of commercialized guild politics is disseminated through flyers/posters to university students to appreciate the problem.

e) Engaging with Members of Parliament on campaign finance reform legislation which involves lobby meetings with legislators mobilized under caucus groups affiliated to religion, gender and youth to support the motion and legislative process of the private member’s bill on election campaign financing.

f) Advocacy engagements with other key stakeholders on campaign finance reforms. This targets other key influencers outside Parliament such as political parties, religious leaders and Electoral Commission to mobilise them to add their voice in demanding for a law that legislates campaign financing.

Alliance For Finance Monitoring