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EC To Gov’t: Give Us Money To Print Ballot Papers, Organize 2021 Elections Smoothly

Barely a year to the 2021 General Elections, Uganda’s Electoral Commission is still pleading with Government to allocate them funds for printing of ballot papers.

Presenting the 2020/2021 national budget framework paper to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee today, a team of officials led by Justice Simon Byabakama (pictured Right), the Chairperson Electoral Commission urged Parliament to ensure that the money is allocated in the 2020/21 national budget.

Byabakama warned that Government’s failure to provide money for the electoral activities will impact on the electoral process.

“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,” Byabakama said.

He revealed that in 2019/2020 budget, the Commission was allocated 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 to 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,” Byabakama warned.

The Electoral Commission is also seeking for Shs11.166bn to finance the recruitment of staff in the new 23 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. … UNRA is asking us to get out of our swamp by January 2020. We don’t have (money).”

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 and general update on voters’ registrar.

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