Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The treasurer of the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC Godfrey Ekanya, has dismissed claims that the Electoral Commission didn’t release funds to the party ahead of the 2021 elections.
All political parties with representation in Parliament receive funding from the government as per the Political Parties and Organizations Act, 2005.
There have been complaints from some party members that the FDC was denied funding when Uganda was heading for the polls last year, despite other parties including the National Resistance Movement-NRM, Democratic Party-DP, Justice Forum-JEEMA, Uganda People’s Congress-UPC receiving funding.
The FDC Secretary General Nathan Nadala Mafabi told URN that the Electoral Commission didn’t release the money to the party.
“We don’t know why, perhaps they just want to cheat us,” explained Nandala when asked why the FDC would be denied funding stipulated in the law.
But the party treasurer says the FDC received funding that it has utilized to run some party activities.
“The thing is we get money but some of our money hasn’t been paid, so we have put a complaint to Electoral Commission and to the government to pay what we expect,” he said.
Asked how much they haven’t received so far, Ekanya said he can’t discuss party matters in the media but hastened to add that they had received money recently.
“But money will never be enough. Because also health workers don’t get enough money, there is no money for roads because of suppression of the budget. They suppress also money to political parties, which is normal. And me as the treasurer-general I account to FDC NEC, National Council and the delegates conference then we account to Electoral Commission, then to the Auditor General then to Parliament,” explained Ekanya.
Ekanya says the main issue of concern is the sharing modalities which according to the law is done based on numerical strength, meaning the more the MPs in parliament, the more funds the party receives.
In 2019, the summit which is a meeting of heads of political parties with representation in Parliament organized under Interparty Organization for Dialogue-IPOD passed a resolution to increase government funding to political parties from 10 billion to 35 billion shillings.
They further resolved to allocate 15 percent of 35 billion (5 billion shillings) to run IPOD operations to enable political parties to determine what activities to fund rather than heed to donor demands.
They further resolved that the rest of the funds be shared equally during election years, something that is yet to be implemented.
Paul Bukenya, the Spokesperson of the Electoral Commission says that they release the money to political parties as per the provisions in the law. He says the most recent funds were released on February 2022.
Regarding the IPOD resolution, Bukenya says as the Commission, they don’t work on resolutions but the law.
Currently, the NRM which occupies the majority of seats in parliament receives the lion’s share. In the recent release, NRM got 17.1 billion shillings, NUP. 3.1 billion, FDC 1.7 billion shillings, DP and UPC 485 million, and JEEMA and PPP 53 million Shillings.