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Parties excluded from 2018/19 government funding

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Uganda’s major political parties will have to find other means to fund their activities as no money has been apportioned for them in the 2018/2019 national budget.

The revelation was made by Simon Byabakama, the Chairman of Electoral Commission, while appearing before the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to present the Commission’s budget.

Government provided Shs10 billion in 2017/2018 for political parties and organisations with representation in government, but only Shs7.50 billion was released and yet no provision has been made for 2018/2019 budget

Byabakama Mugenyi informed the Committee that government has been providing funds in the Financial Years 2014/2015 (Shs10 billion), 2015/2016 (Shs15 billion) and 2017/2018, however, during the budget preparations for 2018/2019 no provision for this purpose was made.

The commission also revealed that although Shs10 billion was approved for 2017/2018 budget, the Ministry of Finance only released Shs7 billion.

In a related development, the commission is also in need of Shs16 billion that will be used for conducting elections and operationalizing of new districts.

“The Commission proposes that its budget ceiling be revised upwards by Shs16.61Billion to enable it conduct elections in established Local Governments and operationalize offices in the new districts,” Justice Byabakama Mugenyi explained.

According to records from Parliament, the 10 new districts namely; Kagadi, Kakumiro, Omoro, and Rubanda that were operationalized in 2016/2017 and Namisindwa, Pakwach, Butebo, Rukiga, Kyotera and Bunyangabo operationalized in 2017/2018 will require Shs7.06 billion for their operationalisation including payment of salaries and wages.

Additionally, six districts of Nabilatuk, Bugweri, Kasanda, Kwania, Kapelebyong and Kikuube that are set to be operationalised in FY2018/2019 have left a funding gap of Shs2.30 billion.

The money is meant to be used to conduct elections for district chairpersons and district women representatives to Parliament in addition to Shs4.236 billion for operationalization of the said six districts.

“There are also 78 new Town Councils and 157 new Sub Counties with their attendant new parishes and new villages effective July 2018 that were created without attendant budgets. The Commission requires Shs3.014 billion to conduct elections in these Lower Local Governments,” Byabakama Mugenyi said.

Yet still, the Electoral Commission is seeking to have its budget increased by Shs13.398 billion to be used for carrying out activities ahead of the 2021 General Elections.

Among the activities lined up for the first phase of the 2021 General Elections include the demarcation of constituencies and Electoral Areas, and the re-organisation of polling stations.

Meanwhile, the construction of the Eastern route of the Standard Gauge Railway, Jinja Expressway and Kampala Flyover projects will take up the biggest part of the Commission headquarters office land, a development that has forced the Commission to consider relocating its Headquarters.

In their new proposal, the alternative office accommodation is expected to cost the Commission Shs72 billion, yet not a single coin has been availed.

 

 

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