1 April 2019

Uganda: Government Cannot Finance 2021 Election, Says Besigye

Photo: The Daily Monitor
A policeman leads Dr Besigye to court.

Kampala — Four-time presidential challenger, Dr Kizza Besigye, has claimed that government is too broke and unable to finance the 2021 general election.

Speaking at the Opposition Forum For Democratic Change head offices in Najjanankumbi, a Kampala suburb, at the weekend, Dr Besigye also alleged that President Museveni can now only run the country through borrowing.

"Those who say they are coming to contest in 2021, I do not think even if we do not disturb them [with Opposition activities], that they can hold an election. 2021 will not be there," he said while addressing a Buganda regional conference organised by a mock People's Government.

Recently, Mr John Muwanga, the Auditor General, said public debt had increased by 22 per cent from Shs33.99 trillion as of June 30, 2017, to Shs41.51 trillion on June 30, 2018.

"That is why they want elections to be held in 2023. If they do not succeed legally [to push elections to 2023], they will do everything possible, including staging a state of emergency not to have this election. The economy is on its knees," Dr Besigye said. So far, Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, Democratic Party president Norbert Mao, independent candidate Maureen Kyalya and the former Makerere University lecturer, Dr Dan Okello, have announced their intentions to contest in 2021 election.

A section of NRM MPs also endorsed a proposal by the party's central executive committee to have Mr Museveni to contest in 2021. He accepted "the request."

Mr Jim Mugunga, the Finance spokesperson, last evening said they have "just finalised presenting budget proposals for the forthcoming financial year to Parliament, and the proposal is shaped by government activities including obligations that must be undertaken."

"As a ministry, our task is to plan ahead, mobilise resources and facilitate government-wide departments to deliver on their mandates. I believe that when the election cycle arrives, funding for related activities will be budgeted for as yet another government undertaking to the people of Uganda," Mr Mugunga said.

"I respect Dr Besigye and wish to trust that his comments are informed by facts known to him. However, official information available to me indicates that the non-partisan ministry of Finance remains committed to fulfilling its obligations, including during election periods," he added.

Dr Besigye also claimed that the plan to have a specialised hospital in Lubowa, for which Parliament recently approved a Shs1.3 trillion loan guarantee to a private investor to finance its construction, is another ploy by government to get "some money to survive."

Government says the hospital is needed to offer home treatment of non-communicable diseases.

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