April 23, 2015

EC Too Broke To Conduct 2016 Polls

There are two options now: Either government provides Shs70bn to manage upcoming elections, or the polls are going to be suspended.

Badru Kigundu
Badru Kigundu

The Electoral Commission headed Badru Kiggundu, assured the parliamentary committee on legal and parliamentary affairs chaired by Stephen Tashobya that elections parse; may be carried out, but the core issue of tallying and announcing who has won the presidential elections and parliamentary will not be done.

This is so because the commission asked for shs272.5bn in the FY2015/6 purposely for general elections but government has only provided shs226.7bn.

This therefore leaves a shortfall of shs70bn and the commission says the funding gap will be responsible for the mess to arise in case the polls results are not declared.

“Total funds required for the general elections in the FY2015/6 amounts to shs272.466bn. The commission has been allocated shs226.6bn for all non-wage activities. This leaves a funding gap of shs70.072bn on the general elections’ requirements” EC Secretary Sam Rwakoojo assured the committee.

He went on ‘if the funding gap is not bridged, the commission will either have to incur domestic arrears in order to deliver the 2016 polls or postpone several activities’

According to Rwakoojo, among the activities to be suspended in case the EC holds the elections, is the one where results are tallied.

The EC wants shs1.4bn for this exercise of tallying results.

Another activity to be suspended is the delivery and receipt of presidential, parliamentary and local government council results.

This means results will remain at polling stations without reaching the national tally center.

The commission is demanding shs401m for this exercise.

Another blow to the 2016 elections is the payment of polling officers who will conduct the presidential, parliamentary and LG elections.

Here, the commission wants shs23.8bn while on election of special interest groups particularly for PWDs and youth councilors, the commission doesn’t have the required shs1bn.

The committee also heard that in case polls are done, there will not be gazetting of winners for parliament unless a budgetary requirement of shs383m has been provided.

The same uncertainty also stretches to election of youth MPs for regions which requires shs3bn, election of National female youth MP shs374m, election of PWD members of parliament [shs1bn], payment of polling officers for workers’ MP elections [shs620m] and printing ballots for youth committees [shs13bn].

The other unfunded priority in relation to general elections is training materials for poling officials [shs776m], training allowance for polling officials [shs9bn], payment of polling officials for special interest groups [shs13bn] and polling for national youth council and committee elections [shs335m]. This brings the total to shs70bn which is missing according to Rwakoojo.

The revelation was made to the committee where the EC officials led by Badru Kiggundu had appeared to defend their budget framework paper for FY2015/6.

On top of that, the commission has not provided for the election of Village leaders and the national women councils.

This latest information rattled members who even suggested that the EC should just leave the elections altogether if there is no money to announce results.

“This means there is no elections. There is no need to waste even a single penny for elections if there is no money for tallying result. All the unfunded activities are the core activities in an election” Abdu Katuntu stated.

Other members however, branded the EC as a conning entity.

The members reasoned that the EC is trying to source for extra funds from government by trying to blackmail members that there is no money for announcing results. The committee asked the EC to come out on this matter.

Shockingly, though the commission claimed that there is no money for declaring results, it has been able to comfortably secure fat budgets to be blown in form of allowances during voter registration and conduct of general elections.

For example, the commission has budgeted for shs53bn as its allowances, shs5.3bn for travel inland and shs1.4bn for welfare.

The same commission has comfortably budgeted for shs4.2bn for maintenance of vehicles, shs5bn for fuel, shs15bn for hiring vehicles, shs1.3bn for ICT, shs8bn for publicity among others amounting to shs202bn.

NO DATE FOR ELECTING PRESIDENT

The EC also tabled for the committee a roadmap for elections. The presidential candidates will be nominated 5-6th October this year while MPs will be nominated on 9-10th November.

Campaigns for election elections will kick off on October 12 this year and February 15/2016.

The polling period for general elections will be between February12-March 12/2016.

However, the commission is non-committal on the exact dates when poling will be done. The commission said this will be communicated in due course.

The commission also informed members that it had budgeted for 15 presidential candidates where each of them will be facilitated with shs20m totaling to shs300m.

The candidates are also supposed to pocket shs1bn in form of fuel.

The same candidates will be entitled to 12 security guards for 5months with each guard pocketing shs100000 daily totaling to shs2.7bn.

The EC has allocated in total shs4.9bn to facilitate the anticipated 15 presidential candidates in the upcoming elections, though the committee questioned what criteria the EC used to arrive at 15 candidates.

The members want it open because more people may pick nomination forms for presidency.

NATIONAL VOTERS’ REGISTER SUSPENDED

Meanwhile, there was a lot of questioning against the EC after it informed members that it had ‘abandoned’ the usual national voters’ register.

The commission assured the members it has extracted from the Gen. Aronda’s National Identity Card data to form a voters’ register.

The ‘register’ is now being updated at parish level across the country. This revelation however, attracted furry from members who suggested that the National ID data is full of ‘ghost Ugandans’ and mistakes.

NRM MPs Yona Musinguzi even tabled before the committee his ID [Aronda] but on checking on Kiggundu’s register, his name wasn’t there.

Others who complained about Aronda ID register were Kabakumba Masiko, Medard Sseggona, Abdu Katuntu among others.

The EC however, didn’t respond to any questions by members and promised to go back to make responses to them.

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