Uganda: MPs Approve Additional Funding to Electoral Commission

Kampala, Uganda — Parliament has approved an additional funding of 344.2 billion shillings to the Electoral Commission to prepare for the 2021 general elections.

The approval of funds came after the adoption of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee report in which MPs recommended additional funding to EC.

The report was presented by the committee Chairperson Jacob Marksons Oboth in a plenary session on Wednesday chaired by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah.

Oboth told parliament that government had not provided adequate funding for the phased activities towards the elections.

He noted that activities for the first phase requiring 155.3 billion shillings and activities for the second phase requiring 283.7 billion shillings have not been funded in the coming financial year 2019/2020.

He further noted that 3.59 billion for elections in the 6 new districts that became effective in July 2018 and Shillings 2.59 billion for elections in 7 new districts of Obongi, Karenga, Kitagwenda, Madi-Okollo, Rwampara, Kazo and Kalaki that become effective in July 2019 is not budgeted.

Oboth revealed that only 100.9 billion shillings has been provided to the Electoral Commission in financial year 2019/2020, leaving a funding gap of Shillings 344.2 billion.

He recommended to parliament that in the meantime, government through a supplementary budget funds for elections in the 6 districts that become effective in July 2018 so that they get representatives before the end of this financial year.

The recommendation by Oboth follows statements by State Minister for Finance in-charge of Planning, David Bahati that government does not have a budget to facilitate the election of leaders in the six newly created districts of Nabilatuk, Kapelebyong, Bugweri, Kwania, Kassanda and Kikuube.

EC has been allocated a budget of Shillings 188.5 billion in the coming financial year 2019/2020 up from 88.5 billion shillings budgetary allocation in the current financial year 2018/2019. This is an increment of the Shillings 100 billion attributed to preparations ahead of the 2021 general election-related expenditure.

While before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee early this month, the EC Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi said that government had for the second consecutive financial year not appropriated funds to them to implement preliminary activities of the 2021 general elections road map warning that without the provision of all required funds, it may adversely affect the smooth running of the 2021 general election.

According to Byabakama, some of the activities that require funding include demarcation of election areas, re-organizing polling stations, acquisition of the biometric voter verification system, installation of Oracle database management system for the national voters' register, voter education and others.

The other activities include hearing and determining complaints before elections, accrediting election observers for 2021 general elections, issue gazette notices, procurement of the electronic results transmission and dissemination system among others.

While adopting the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee report, parliament approved additional funding of Shillings 363 million to EC to clear arrears as remuneration for the Data Entrants for their services in 2010.

The committee report reveals that a provision of only 41 million was provided as arrears for allowances for data entrants for the 2010 aborted administrative units' elections in the current financial year 2018/2019 leaving a balance of Shillings 363 million that is not provided in the coming financial year 2019/2020.

Parliament also approved additional Shillings 3 billion for voter education and training to ensure free and fair elections and additional 1 billion for preparatory activities for the establishment of new EC headquarters.

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