Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Unity Platform-NUP president, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine spent between Shillings 7 and 10 million per day during his presidential election campaigns.
The party Secretary-General David Lewis Rubongoya told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the money covered the basic needs of Kyagulanyi’s entourage, such as lodging, food and fueling their vehicles. He revealed that they had a budget projection which he didn’t disclose.
The pandemic, disorganization of their campaign and pre-campaign programs, he says greatly impacted the implementation of their plans.
Rubongoya argues that it’s difficult to budget for a campaign and monitor the flow of money because many people were not channeling their financial support through the secretariat. Money, he says would be sent directly to individuals such as those who had been injured or families of supporters who were killed.
The party has maintained that its campaign expenses were bankrolled by supporters both in the country and abroad. It’s these supporters, the party says, who continue to give aid such as paying medical bills of NUP supporters who were abducted.
Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), an organization that monitors campaign financing in a report before elections indicated that NUP had more than 60% of their funding coming from foreign sources in form of donations. These were chapters “in UK and US that believe in what NUP has called the struggle.”
Internally, before the start of campaigns, NUP was running a public fundraising drive dubbed “Muda-Ku-Muda @10K We Can”. There were several campaigns both online and offline geared at raising money for the party. And some are still running.
For instance, End Museveni Dictatorship Mutual Aid, a Twitter account has been mobilizing funds to support Bobi Wine supporters who are still in prison. The account is currently fundraising Shillings 2.5 million to send Easter packages to the detained supporters.
Operating in darkness
No political party declared its campaign budget projection or means through which they were going to raise money before the election. It has been the norm even in previous elections.
Henry Muguzi, the Executive Director of Alliance for Finance Monitoring says political parties enjoy operating under no scrutiny even when they are supposed to submit audited financial reports every financial year as required under the Political Parties and Organization Act of 2005.
For the last five years, Muguzi says ACFIM has been writing to the Electoral Commission requesting for reports submitted by political parties but they have not got any. These audited reports can be accessed by the public upon payment of a reasonable fee prescribed by the Electoral Commission.
Muguzi argues that there is too much darkness that shrouds the operations of political parties in Uganda including those in parliament that receive funding from the consolidated fund. He says there is a need to for a law that can force political parties to submit reports of their campaign financing and expenditures after elections.
Who will support this bill? Muguzi admits that it’s hard for Members of Parliament to support such a bill. “Its like asking a monkey to decide the rules of the game in the forest,” he said.