18 November 2012

Uganda: FDC Struggling to Raise Funds for Party Elections

With four days left to go to the Forum for Democratic (FDC) polls for a new president, the party is struggling to raise sh250m out of sh800m that was budgeted for.

According to Dan Mugarura, FDC's electoral commission chairperson, even if the party fails to raise all the money, the elections will still go on.

"We shall cut on the expenditure and use whatever we have within our means, but the delegates conference will go on as planned next week," he said.

The money is meant to pay for the venue at Namboole Stadium, where the elections will be held, buy foodstuff and fuel for generators. Others are ballot papers, security and the delegates' transport refund.

The stadium administration asked for sh50m for hire of the stadium for two days. A total of 820 delegates are expected at the conference.

Three candidates are contesting for the top FDC party seat to replace Dr. Kizza Besigye. They include, Tororo MP Geoffrey Ekanya, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and Budadiri West MP, Nandala Mafabi and former army commander Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu.

Besigye announced he would retire before 2014 to create allow the next party leader to consolidate himself in leadership before the 2016 presidential elections.

According to Mugarura, the delegates include five FDC officials from every district. These are the party chairpersons, the general secretary, the organising secretary, a representative for the women and another for the youth. On top of these, every electoral constituency will produce two voters, a male and a female. Under this arrangement, some districts with many constituencies will have more voters than the others.

Anita Among, FDC's fundraising secretary, said they raised most of the money from the members, adding that the candidates were prohibited from funding the delegates conference by the recent National Executive Committee meeting.

Sarah Eperu, the spokesperson for Mafabi's campaign team, said this called for the reformation of the election procedures.

"The current model is very expensive. We have failed to raise the money, yet the candidates have spent a lot of money," she said.

FDC has invited other political parties, donors, diplomats and civil society organisations to play the role of election observers.

Next Thursday, each candidate will be given 45 minutes, to share his manifesto with the delegates.

Voting will be by secret ballot. Mugarura, who is also the party's returning officer, said they had procured ballot papers from a local private firm.

"We promise free and fair elections. We shall announce final results after tallying. If any candidate wants to contest the results, he has seven days to petition the party's tribunal. The new party president will take oath after four days," he said.

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