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.