Members of the 10th Parliament spent Ugx 24.7 billion shillings for campaigns during the just concluded elections.
According to report findings by Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) on October 13, 2016 at Metropole Hotel, Kampala, 113 out of 185 MPs interviewed disclosed that they spent the money to prepare and hold elections in their respective constituencies. The survey was conducted by ACFIM between September 16th and October 7th 2016 by telephone.
The findings also estimate that for each NRM MP interviewed, he or she spent about Ugx 233 million; opposition MPs spent Ugx 187 million each while independent MPs spent Ugx 189 million each.
During the survey, one MP confessed to have spent Shs 1 billion shillings to fund campaigns, while the least amount of money that a candidate spent was Ugx 10 million shillings. Most of the MPs interviewed said they solicited money from personal finances, friends and also political parties.
Henry Muguzi, ACFIM national coordinator, who released the survey results, said that 66% of MPs, which translates to 122 legislators, agreed that the amount of money spent on contesting for parliamentary seat should be limited. The survey captured 51% of MPs proposing that once a cap on campaign expenditure is set by law, any candidate who goes above the limit should lose his or her seat and be stopped from contesting in future elections.
For presidential candidates, 68% of the MPs supported a move to limit campaign funding by presidential candidates.
Cissy Kagaba, the Executive Director of Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), while reacting to the survey, lamented that Uganda’s politics has been turned commercial, giving individuals with more money an upper hand in leadership positions in the country.
Muguzi said unless Parliament enacts a law on campaign financing, many able Ugandans will be left behind in terms of participation in leadership.
“Elections have been commercialized that the country struggles to cope with inflation during elections. People who are credible end up not participating in elections due to the astronomical amounts of money needed to stand for the elections,” Muguzi said.
Only one MP, Fort Portal Municipality MP, Alex Ruhunda attended the meeting. He said commercialization of politics has ruined Uganda’s elective politics, hence need for a law to out a cap on campaign and election expenditure.