KAMPALA – The Auditor General, John Muwanga has warned of delays in the financing of activities for the general elections saying that if the delays persist, they may affect the elections in 2021.
Muwanga’s sounded the warning on Wednesday, January 15 while presenting the December 2019 Audit report for all government institutions to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.
He highlighted that the Electoral Commission requires Shs796.88b for the organization of presidential and general parliamentary and local council elections 2020/2021.
According to the proposal from Electoral Commission, the funds are meant to be released in three phases but by 30th June 2019, a total of Shs141b (18%) has been released to implement the activities of 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 instead of Shs439.067b.
Some of the activities critical to the roadmap include demarcation of electoral areas, re-organisation of polling stations, specialized training (ICT, biometrics and due diligence of ICT procurement) voter education, acquisition of biometric voter verification system, developing election document management system, digitizing election documents and setting up election digital archive.
The Auditor-General said, “The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)provision of only Shs141b in the year did not finance the above activities. This, therefore, prompted the Commission to reschedule the activities to the last year of the election. I observed that the financing of the road map to 2021 general elections is behind schedule.”
The Auditor General called on Government to consider prioritizing the financing of the roadmap given its gravity in having smooth and peaceful electoral process.
While responding to the matter, Speaker wondered why taxpayers are going to incur the cost of buying new biometric machines yet there were some machines purchased before the 2016 general elections.
“For the general elections, we are in serious troubles, primaries should be in May 2020, so if we have no constituencies, how will people be nominated? I was invited to launch some machines at Hotel Africanna by the Electoral Commission, I don’t know what has happened to what we launched and why we are procuring new equipment? Asked Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.