The Electoral Commission has said that it has no money to fund political parties in the 2018/2019 financial year.
Appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, Electoral Commission secretary, Sam Rwakoojo said that during the budget preparations for 2018/19, there was no provision for the political party funding in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Government started funding political parties with representation in parliament in the 2014/15 financial year, contributing up to Shs 10 billion every year. Rwakoojo reported that while the commission requested for Shs 189.2 billion, government approved Shs 64.6 billion, leaving a funding gap of Shs 125 billion.
Section 14 (a) of the Political Parties and Organisations Act, 2005, provides that government shall contribute funds or other public resources towards the activities of political parties or organizations represented in parliament. Parliament currently has four political parties of NRM, FDC, UPC and DP with representation in parliament.
WE CAN’T RELOCATE
Rwakoojo also reported that the commission has no money for acquiring office premises and relocation.
The EC was advised to immediately relocate to other premises to pave way for the eastern route of the standard gauge railway, Jinja express highway and Kampala flyover projects, which will take up the biggest part of the current commission headquarters along Jinja road.
Rwakoojo said the estimated cost of acquiring office premises and relocating is Shs 72bn, but no provision was made in the MTEF.
The commission is also grappling with financing election of district chairpersons and district woman representatives in parliament for the six districts that will become operational from July 1, 2018.
The six districts are Nabilatuk, Bugweri, Kassanda, Kwania, Kapelebyong and Kikuube. Constitutionally, the commission is expected to conduct elections for representatives to parliament within 60 days and district chairpersons within six months from the date the district takes off.
The commission requires Shs 2.3bn to hold elections for district chairpersons and district woman MPs to parliament in addition to Shs 4.2bn for operationalization of district offices.
“There are no operational costs for establishing; and the annual cost of operating a district office is Shs 706 million,” Rwakoojo told MPs.