KAMPALA – Renown Makerere University Political Science Professor, Dr. Simba Kayunga has called for the deregistering of all political parties that fail to account for the funds they receive from Government and donors.
Dr. Simba made the remarks on Thursday, December 5 while addressing guests at the Election Symposium organised by the Electoral Commission at Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo held under the theme: Strengthening the Electoral Process in Uganda: Sharing Regional Electoral Experiences and Good Practices.
He said, “Political parties which fail to make financial accountability as required by law should be deregistered. Candidates found guilty of electoral fraud should be barred from standing at least for years.”
In 2010, the Political Parties and Organizations Act 2005 (PPOA) was amended to insert Section 14(a) to provide for the use of government funds or other public resources to political parties or organisations represented in Parliament (b) in respect of elections funding shall be on equal basis and (c) normal day to day activities shall be based on the numerical strength of each party in Parliament. The funds recently released to the EC are in relation to (c) but leave out more than 50 MPs (Independents, UPDF) unaffiliated parties.
Dr. Kayunga’s remarks come after media reports in June revealed that Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) had produced fraudulent accountability to the Netherlands Institute of Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) over USD4, 500.
Commenting on voter bribery that is eating up Uganda’s electoral process, Dr. Kayunga noted that voter buying is caused by a hangover of individual merits system in a multiparty political dispensation, political parties with no/weak ideological base or clear policy differences and voters being forced to use other parameters while making an electoral choice.
He said it was about time Government revised its policy on remunerations of politicians, wondering why a councillor at Kampala Capital City Authority should earn more money than the Inspector General of Police remarking, “Rewarding politics more than anything else turns elections into a do-or-die activity hence flow of money into the process.”
Dr. Simba said that although there are proposals on regulating electoral financing, these laws would be hard to implement, some of the causes of vote buying include elite betrayal ‘nange mumpe ndyeko’ using masses as ladders for personal social and economic gains and abandoning them latter. Vote-buying includes construction of churches/mosques by prospective candidates; and contributions towards burial arrangements. ‘It is difficult to regulate because the people involved are not yet candidates.
The Secretary to the Electoral Commission, Mr. Sam Rwakoojo, stated that the Election Symposium is meant to share good practices from the region and beyond, and draw relevant electoral lessons ahead of the 2021 polls and was organised as a follow-up event in commemoration of the International Day of Democracy which was marked on 15th September 2019.
The Commission boss argued that the symposium was designed to provide a highly interactive and cordial learning environment, and features a line up of more than a dozen experts in the field of elections, governance, security, media, planning and research.
Brian Kagoro, Founder and Executive Director UHAI Africa group a governance and consulting firm pointed out that political parties have become ethinicised and regionalised, with some turned into theatres of celebrating mediocrity as long as they are from the right region.
Kagoro also challenged civil society to invest in research to be able to prescribe viable solutions to issues affecting society, and warned Civil Society that they can’t keep picking per diem & holding conferences only.