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EC Wants Shs195.9bn To Kickoff Preparations For 2026 General Elections

The Electoral Commission has asked the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to ensure that all the funds required to kickoff activities for the 2026 general elections, to a tune of Shs195.985Bn is availed in the coming 2023/2024 national budget.

The request was made during a meeting held between the Legal Committee and officials from Electoral Commission who had come to present their views on the 2023/2024 National Budget Framework Paper.

Leonard Mulekhwa, Secretary to Electoral Commission informed Parliament that electoral activities are in carried out in a chronological order, where the Commission can’t go to the next without finishing the first, and delay in any activity affects the whole process, yet out of the requirement of Shs195.985Bn, only Shs18.970Bn has been availed in the 2023/2024 national budget, meaning the Commission will be left with a shortfall of Shs177.218Bn.

He said, “Next Financial Year is the First Year of the general elections so we have some statutory activities and these amount to but only has been provided leaving a funding gap of Shs177.21Bn towards the 2026 general elections.”

Simon Byabakama, Chairperson Electoral Commission informed the Committee that the money is required to re-demarcate the existing constituencies remarking, “So funding for the first phase activities is very critical if they are to postpone to the next phase of the next FY, it means you are going to crowd the activities together with the second phase and they are likely to impact on one another.”

He also urged Parliament to ensure that the Ministry of Finance avails the Commission with funds required to conduct the women council elections to a tune of Shs35.68Bn, saying any delays would render the Shs21Bn spent on the activities before the whole exercise was halted nurgatory because the temporary staff have to be paid for the work they had done.

“If we don’t have funds for these elections in this Financial Year, it would imply they will be conducted in the next Financial Year, but remember these elections are premised on residency, where do the women reside and the registers are generated at the village level. It isn’t the national voters register that we use in the general elections that we use in the women council elections. So to cleanse ourselves, we have to pay this debt first to clear our name because people worked and it’s their right, and then we repeat the exercise so it ends up being a double cost,” explained Byabakama.

According to Electoral Commission, Shs60Bn is also required to fund elections for the LC1 in order to ensure that there are new leaders by July 2023, before their term elapses in 2024, but no money has been allocated for these activities.

Santa Alum (Oyam DWR) argued that it isn’t the first time that Uganda is failing to hold elections for LC1 and also the women council elections have been elected, and wondered if these elections can be held at the same time as the general elections.

However, Robina Rwakoojo (Gomba West) said that delays in holding these elections is very frustrating for the local people and imposes pressure on other political leaders to fund the local council candidates.

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