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Money concerns over 2016 polls

By Flavia Nassaka

EC says slashing budget, but Finance says funding available

On April 21, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission Badru Kiggundu together with the Commission’s Secretary Sam Rwakoojo appeared before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee to present their budget frame work paper for financial year 2015/16.

They need Shs272 billion shillings to organise the forth coming elections in 2016 but have been allocated only Shs202 billion; leaving a shortfall of Shs70 billion.

Rwakoojo told the committee that unless the gap is filled some activities; including tallying of results, which requires Shs1.4 billion, and delivery of election results that requires Shs401 million might be postponed.

However during a press briefing held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters on April 22, the Minister of State for Finance in charge of General Duties, Fred Omach, said the government has allocated money for all election activities. He said there would be no postponement of any EC activities. He said the ministry has budgeted for Shs376 billion for the polls and has already released money to cater for the activities surrounding the update of the national voters’ register.

On April 20, government also released Shs10 billion to the EC to fund political parties whereby the money was shared depending on the strength of the party in parliament. The NRM took the lion’s share of about 8 billion whereas the other five parties – Democratic Party (DP), JEEMA, Conservative Party (CP), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) shared the balance.

When The Independent asked how the country’s oldest party DP intends to use the money, its Publicity Secretary Samuel Kakande said the Shs464 million allocated to them was way too little to fund their 2016 agenda. He said giving them the money was an agenda by the ruling NRM to extort huge sums from the government treasury.

“Giving parties different amounts further exposes their intentions. This is unfair. We are going to contest it,” he said.

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