KAMPALA – The Electoral Commission has called on Parliament to ensure that the government allocates funds to be used for printing of ballot papers with hardly a year to the general elections.
The call was made by Justice Simon Byabakama, Chairperson Electoral Commission who had led his team to present the 2020/2021 national budget framework paper to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Thursday, January 16.
Byabakama said, “Unfunded/underfunded priorities include printing of ballot papers, dispatch of polling kits, welfare for polling day officials. Field supervision of polling activities and payment to polling day officials during presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.”
The EC Chairman also warned of the failure by Government to provide money for the electoral activities saying it would likely impact on the electoral process.
Byabakama said that in 2019/2020 budget, the Commission was provided Shs140.98Bn out of the required Shs439.46Bn to fund the second phase of the General Election roadmap which resulted in funding gap of Shs298.48Bn bringing the total budget shortfall amount Shs432.68Bn
“If this budget shortfall is not addressed, it may adversely affect the smooth conduct of elections. The Commission, therefore, calls for your urgent intervention in order to avert this crisis,” warned Byabakama.
The Electoral Commission is also seeking for Shs11.166Bn to finance the recruitment of staff in the new 23 new districts and implement the financial portion of the salary enhancement for existing staff.
The Commission is also seeking for Shs72Bn to purchase and partition new offices to pave way for the Jinja flyover.
Sam Rwakoojo, Secretary Electoral Commission also further explained on the funding matter saying, “There is no money to print ballot papers for the general elections and all elections. We need money to print ballot papers. If there are no ballot papers because this is the third and final period. UNRA is asking us to get out of our swamp by January 2020. We don’t have.”
He also highlighted some of the achievements the Commission registered including conducting six elections in new districts, holding nine by-elections, conducting LC1 and women councils, conducting elections for Arua, Sheema and Busia district Chairperson.
During the same time, the EC also demarcated electoral areas. Verified national voters registrar, general update on voter registrar.