KAMPALA – The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party has accused government of deliberately refusing to fund the Electoral Commission’s budget for the forthcoming General Election.
The Electoral Commission requested for Shs 549 billion in next year’s budget being debated by Parliament but was given only Shs357 billion, leaving a funding gap of Shs220 billion.
But FDC spokesman Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said the low funding is intentional since they have allocated more money to other non-essential items in the national budget.
“One of the items that government has refused to allocate money for is voter education that require Shs 13.9 billion. This we think is deliberate,” Mr Nganda told journalists on Monday, February 3, 2020.
“Mr. Museveni wants the population to remain ignorant for easy exploitation. In fact Museveni’s residence (State House) has been allocated over Shs 482 billion, more than the amount of money given to the Electoral Commission. This includes more than Shs 260 billion for donation by Mr. Museveni. And President’s office is allocated Shs 102 billion,” he added.
Appearing before the parliamentary committee on Legal Affairs last Tuesday, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said his ministry is already facing a challenge of revenue shortfall and therefore will most likely not be able to meet the ‘high’ demands of the electoral body.
This follows concerns raised by officials from the electoral body while presenting their budget framework paper for the Financial Year 2020/2021 that the funds available can only push them to the nomination exercise of candidates.
At the Monday press briefing, Mr Nganda also revealed that FDC is finalizing its programme for the 15th anniversary activities in different regions. However, he accused police of disrupting the celebrations.
“Except in Mbarara where we were forced to stage anniversary celebrations activities outside Mbarara Municipality, all our other activities were disrupted by Police and military. FDC leaders who went to Ntungamo led by National Mobiliser Ingrid Turinawe were brutalized. Leaders who went to Kiruhura headed by Walid Lubega, National Youth League Chairman were beaten and arrested. A team headed by Hon Roland Mugume was dispersed in Rukiga. And another team headed by Hon Francis Mwijukye was also harassed by Police in Kabale,” he said.
“As a party, we will not waver. These activities will go as announced. We think our programme for Buganda will be out before end of this week,” he added.