Uganda decides this year and most people are talking politics these days.
Despite the search for our next leaders gaining pitch, a few issues here and there keep our search for democracy at stake.
Being an upcountry journalist, I have been lucky to cover rallies of some politicians in the districts of Kabale, Kisoro, Ntungamo, Rukungiri and Bushenyi.
However in most of my trips, one thing is common-Voter bribery if not Commercialized politics.
The electorate are given live cash by their would be leaders a recent report produced by the Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), a Ugandan civil society coalition that includes anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International’s Uganda branch noted that across 16 Ugandan districts in November and December, Museveni spent in excess of 27 billion Ugandan shillings ($7.8 million). Amama Mbabazi, Museveni’s former prime minister and now an independent candidate running under the banner of Go Forward, spent 1.3 billion Ugandan shillings ($375,000), while veteran opposition candidate Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) spent 977 million Ugandan shillings ($282,000).
Museveni’s NRM was also way out in front in terms of total party expenditure. The report stated that the NRM spent 121 billion Ugandan shillings ($35 million) on the campaign trail between November and December—equivalent to 87.9 percent of campaign expenditure by all parties. Besigye’s FDC spent three billion Ugandan shillings ($865,000), while Mbabazi’s Go Forward spent 1.5 billion Ugandan shillings ($432,000).
I was chanced to cover the presidential campaigns in Kabale district early this year but during this time I realised various NRM sympathisers spending cash as If it is freely given by nature.
I wont dwell much on that but even at local levels, politicians have to spend something on their voters to win their favour.
This practice has forced some of the aspiring candidates to incur uncountable loans so as to achieve their desired leadership positions.
What shocked me recently was when I was covering an aspiring MP who after adressing a rally left the voters with a UShs.300,000= gift and they inturn commented that it was less than their expectation.
when consulted, these voters said every aspiring MP atleast leaves beyond Ushs 1 million while addressing them.
This left me wondering whether the financially weak Ugandans can still find leadership opportunities in the pearl of Africa.
When consulted the voters said that without reaping much of the financial power from their leaders at such a time, they expect less from them after elections.
After the 2011 elections, Uganda experienced a high level of Inflation and it was attributed to the great spending by politicians during that time.
Most Ugandans are still optimistic that after this year’s elections, Inflation may still occur. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING AN ECONOMICALLY STABLE AFTER ELECTIONS SEASON.
To our great leaders stop buying our capacity to choose the rightful leaders and to the voters avoid selling your rights.