Simba Kayunga voter bribery Uganda
Poor remuneration policy a leading cause of voter bribery in Uganda. File Photo

Simba Kayunga: Poor remuneration policy cause of voter bribery in Uganda’s electoral process

Following media reports in June 2019, that revealed that FDC Party produced fraudulent accountability to the Netherlands Institute of Multiparty (NIMD) of over 4,500 USD, a renown Makerere University Political Scientist, Professor, Dr Simba Kayunga says political parties which fail to account for funds they receive from government and donors should be deregistered.

“Political parties which fail to make financial accountability as required by law should be deregistered. Candidates found guilty of electoral fraud should be barred from standing at least for years,” Prof Kayunga said.

Prof Kayunga made the remarks at an election symposium organised by Electoral Commission on Thursday 5th, December at Common Wealth Resort Munyonyo.

He says hangover of the individual merit system in a multiparty political dispensation, political parties with weak ideological base or rather clear policy differences that includes forcing voters to use other parameters at the time of making electoral choices is the root cause of voter bribery in the country.

In his view, Kayunga adds that poor remuneration of workers is another reason why voter bribery exists in Uganda’s electoral process.

He, however, appealed to the government to revise its remuneration policy, if voter bribery and associated issues are to end in the country.

“Rewarding politics more than anything else turns elections into a do or die activity hence flow of money into the process,” Kayunga said.

Kayunga also pointed out other causes of voter bribery that includes; elite betrayed ‘nange mumpendyeko’. He says politicians use masses as stepping stone to arrive their destiny which contains their gains and dumps them after achieving their intended goals.

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He says construction of worship centres like churches or mosques by aspiring politicians and burial contributions also contributes to voter bribery. However, Prof Kayunga argues that at this point it’s hard to regulate because the people involved are not yet candidates.

Relatedly, UHAI Africa Group, governance and consulting firm founder and Executive Director, Brian Kagoro said that political parties have turned into an ethicist and regionalised with some turning into theatres of celebrating mediocrity provided they originate from the right region in the country.

As a result, Kagoro asked civil society organisations to institute research to find suitable solutions to the problem piercing Uganda. In the same way, Kagoro warned civil society to stop holding conferences thinking it’s the only way to get solutions to Uganda’s issues.

Speaking, Sam Rwakoojo, the Secretary to the Electoral Commission said that the Election Symposium is purposely intended to share good practices from the region and elsewhere including collecting relevant electoral lesions before 2021 general elections approach.

He adds that the Symposium was also a celebration of the International Day of Democracy which was celebrated on the 15, September 2019.

The Political Parties and Organisations Act 2005 (PPOA) was amended in 2010 that saw the inclusion of Section 14(a) to provide for the use of government funds or other public resources to political parties or organisations represented in Parliament.

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(b) in respect of elections funding shall be on an equal basis and (c) normal day-today activities shall be based on the numerical strength of each party in Parliament.

The recently released political party funds are following (c) and excluded 50 and above legislators who are independents, UPDF who don’t have any political party affiliation.