President Yoweri Museveni has said that the upcoming 2016 general elections require a lot of government funding.
Speaking at his country home at Rwakitura in Kiruhura district, Museveni was on Easter explaining why government took a deliberate decision to dedicate much of the resources under the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) to the procurement and distribution of cash crops such as coffee, tea, oranges and mangos.
Museveni further clarified that government was not able to procure and avail seedlings to cover all homesteads in the country because of the “many overlapping national priorities and projects amidst a limited and strained budget”.
He cited the many ongoing road and power projects and the upcoming national election which he said require a lot of funding.
Museveni who is being sued for old age (he will be past the 75 age limit after 2016) is ready to stand for another term.
His party has already picked Goodlyfe duo’s “Neera Neera” as his vote catchword.
He has always been accused by opposition of using state resources to fund his campaigns.
EC seeks over Shs 255bn for 2016 elections
While releasing the 2016 electoral road map, the Uganda Electoral Commission said it needed about Shs 255bn to organise the elections.
In 2013, the Electoral Commission (EC) announced that the 2016 general elections would cost at least Shs 1.2tn.
The then EC secretary, Sam Rwakoojo, suggested that 2016 would see the most expensive elections in the country’s history.
In 2011, EC requested for Shs 198bn to run the presidential, parliamentary and local council polls.
EC Chairman, Badru Kiggundu, said “elections are one of the most expensive civil undertaking for a country” while justifying the huge sum.
Allegations that Saleh has already minted Shs 13bn for 2016
Renegade Gen David Tinyefuza alias Sejusa last year alleged that Museveni’s brother, Gen Salim Saleh, was engaged in a money minting venture ahead of the 2016 general elections.
It came after the governor Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Mutebile, announced that he won’t print money this time round saying it could be used by National Resistance Movement (NRM) to fund its campaigns as was the case in 2011 elections.
On November 18, 2014, Gen Salim Saleh money minting and printing machine printed Shs 13bn for 2016 general polls without authority from Bank of Uganda, according to the allegation.
The report was complemented by former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) President, Dr Kizza Besigye, who said vans full of billions of cash were seen heading to Gen Saleh’s Entebbe road based home ready to bribe voters.
He said the money was offloaded from the truck at the old home of Gen Saleh in Garuga and was later loaded onto a chopper, a charge Gen Saleh passed as “absurd and total madness”.
The government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, also dismissed the allegation saying the ruling party has always funded its campaigns with its own money and not tax payers’ money as the opposition claims.
EC injects Shs 40bn in updating voters’ registers exercise
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has started a countrywide process of updating the voter’s register ahead of the 2016 general elections.
All Ugandans above 18 years who have never been registered and those who were not captured during the national ID registration process are eligible for the exercise.
The Commission’s Acting Chairperson, Joseph Biribonwa, says the exercise that ends on 30th June will cost about Shs 40bn.
He says after the exercise the commission will then display the up dated register from 2nd to 22nd of June this year.