Political Parties spending during campaigns in November and December 2015; NRM buying shirts and ferrying crowds; while the others Parties use meager funds their campaigns
This here has been address by others, but this is my view on the report released by NGOs recently. So here is my view on how the parties have spent on the two months, and the issue is that is very important to discuss. Since this is use of money to gain power or to shape the political landscape. The use of moneys and what you use it on show the values and to what extend you will pay to either continue or get power. The pages are after the counting system of Acrobat document, the official document will have different numbers because Acrobat count the empty pages in the beginning also. Therefore the numbers are higher then what it is in the report and don’t get that confused. I just do it to make it easy.
“The minimum amount of money observed to have been spent by parties and their flag bearers in the observed districts was UGX 49.6 billion in November and 88.1 billion in December representing an increase of 77% over the two months. This increase is largely attributed to the commencement of member or parliament campaigns having been nominated on the 3rd and 4th of December 2015” (…)”ACFIM observers reported use of motorcades, bodabodas cyclists, entertainers; and provided transport refund, food and drinks for supporters that accompanied them to nomination and attended the nomination rallies” (P: 8, 2016).
“Assessment of Minimum Expenses by Party:
According to ACFIM observers, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidates are leading by far terms of campaign spending. The party accounts for 87% of the total minimum observed expenditures reported by ACFIM Research Assistants/Observers in the months of November and December. NRM is trailed by Independent Candidates who have spent 7.9%, FDC (2.1%), Go Forward political group (1.1%), DP (0.5%), UPC (0.3%) and other parties (0.3%)” (P: 10, 2016).
NRM Minimum costs:
There has been observed how the NRM have been using funds on their candidates and campaigning from June 2015 to December 2015. This here proves yet again to what extent the ruling parties secure loyalty and MPs. Every NRM Village has spent minimum UGX 15m. The delegates conference for the constitutional amendment they spent UGX 19M. The Second delegate’s conference to elect Flag-Bearer UGX 20M; then it’s the monies spent to MPs to secure the vote for sole-candidacy that was UGX 6M. They also spent money for Posh Cars for party officials UGX 10M. Last was paying for the NRM Primaries which cost about UGX 30M. That means the minimum cost for NRM we’re UGX 100M (P: 12, 2016). That is before you really start to campaign!
Expenses of Presidential Candidates in November and December:
“The candidate Yoweri Museveni accounts for majority of the total minimum expenditure with 91.6% of the total minimum expenses recorded. Candidate Museveni is followed by Amama Mbabazi whose expenditure accounts for 4.6% and Kizza Besigye (3.3%). The rest of the candidates spent less than 1.0% combined” (P: 16, 2016).
NRM giving money away to gain support:
“The Money Man”; He is retired Leut. Gen. Henry Tumukunde. He was handing over UGX 20million to an association of vendors in Entebbe Market in December. He has been leading the advance party of candidate Yoweri Museveni. Observers in Arua reported that he handed out UGX 50,000 to 400 voters who claimed to have converted from FDC – they met him at White Castle Hotel in Arua” (P: 19, 2016).
Expenses on Journalists by Presidential Candidate (Nov & Dec):
“Yoweri Museveni outstrips his competitors in terms of expenditure on facilitation of Journalists on campaign trail. Observers report that candidate Yoweri Museveni has a team on 20 local journalists (electronic and print) that are covering his campaign trail, each of these journalists receives daily upkeep (per diem and incidentals) of UGX 150,000 from the candidate’s campaign coordination team. In addition when the candidate conducts regional press conferences, the facilitation for journalists attending the press conference rises to UGX 500,000 and about 50 journalists can be in attendance (i.e. the 20 on campaign trail are joined by 20-30 others from the region). Journalists on candidate Amama Mbabazi campaign trail get up a reported minimum of UGX 40,000 while journalists covering candidate Kizza Besigye and others get much less or nothing” (P: 31, 2016).
“Voter tourism as the practice by candidates where voters are provided with buses, trucks, minibuses or cars and driven from their homes to campaign rallies or around the constituency as an inducement to voters in return for their support come polling day. Clearly a poor voter who has not sat in an automobile for a year or more will be more than excited to enjoy the ride provided by the political candidate free of charge. Voter tourism has been prevalent in November and December with candidates of the NRM party most commonly observed engaging in this campaign tactic. Voter hospitality on the other hand is a situation where political candidate host voters to a banquet or party or meal or retreat where are treated to a good meal, animals slaughtered and cooked or roasted, lots of drinks including booze, music/disco, live entertainment and sometimes lodging in a comfortable hotel, motel or lodge. Voter tourism and voter hospitality were prevalent in November and December with majority of candidates across political parties complicity to this” (P: 41, 2016). To continue why the candidates use this tactic; “Political candidates that have been observed to engage in campaign tactics like voter tourism and voter hospitality in November and December, do not do so because they are generous, but because they expect recipients to return the favour. The timing of these offers in the middle of an election campaign and the nature of intended beneficiaries for this generosity is clear manifestation that the aim is to induce voters in return for their support on February 18th, 2016. This clearly is voter bribery” (P: 43, 2016)
Misuse of Government Resources:
“On the 9th of November 2015 a number of government vehicles were used on candidate Museveni’s rally held at Kasana Play Ground. Some of the vehicle registration plates observed in action at the rally include: UG2183C, UG 0178H, UG1427W, UG 0187D, UG 2688D, UG 2183C, UG 2043C, UG 2405C. UG 1832S, UG1768C. Observers in Katikamu report that on the same day government vehicle number UG 2708R was used to transport supporters to Kasana playground” (P: 44, 2016). “Similarly on December 3rd 2015 dependent candidate for Katikamu South Member of Parliament Patricia Magara was observed using a bus with government number plates to ferry campaign attendees from different sub counties to her nomination rally in Bulakasa” (P: 45, 2016).
The minimum NRM expenses of only November 2015 are 125,219,922,000! (P: 50, 2016) That is a lot’s of money. I will point out some special expenses that the NRM party has used this giant UGX 125bn on campaign for November 2015! That is lots of lots money! For Voter Tourism they have used UGX 140m in November alone. Allowances for 500 Special Force Command men as Campaign Security total pay cost UGX 300m in November alone. On Yellow T-shirts the NRM party used UGX 15,806bn that is a lot on type of item, it surely is to sprite up those campaign rallies and Yellow crowds! After quick calculations they used close to UGX 1,4bn on media advertisements on TV, Radio and Newspapers. On campaign posters the hefty sum of UGX 1,7bn (P: 49-50, 2016).
Though FDC used a UGX 1bn as the biggest opposition party, it still proves the total use of funds from NRM. I am not surprised with all the knowledge of voter tourism and also giving away foods and items at their campaign venues. The tally has to get big for the ruling party with all the hiring of buses and such proves how much their viable to use to get the perfect crowds and pictures to the press. Like yesterday there we’re reports of a village that was the size of 500 people, the NRM had a campaign rally of 20,000. Surely they had some buses and shipped them to that venue as they have done before and hired bus-companies to travel and pay to get crowds. Something FDC and the other parties does not do.
The NRM proves to be the big-spender and would be surprised if the result from a NGO would be different, maybe if Ofwono Opondo would describe it differently. He said this recently: “It is true that NRM is outspending other parties. It is true that we spent over UGX32b during NRM primaries” (…)”We are spending the money locally. We are buying t-shirts, water, paying musicians, hire cars from Ugandans” (…)”There’s no evidence that money being spent by political parties is causing inflation pressure” (TheInsider, 2016).
Mr Opondo is not a giant economic sense of a guy, the extended monies into use without monetary policy can lead into higher inflations, that is why the two recent elections periods in Uganda in 2006 and 2001 that the inflations rate we’re escalating and also led to higher prices on the household commodities. But Mr. Opondo has a way of forgetting such while his party is big spending. As they have their own “Money Man” during the campaign and continue to support the level of Voter Tourism. I am surely they have an own warehouse just for Yellow T-Shirts near a Headquarter of the NRM. They should they have used such a fortune on it and the ones they haven’t given away should be stored well.
The war-chest of NRM must be huge. As the reports before November was expected that NRM would use UGX 500bn, and by seeing the results of November alone in this report proves that those estimations was spot-on. If you can calculate the same amount for December and January; then you get up to the estimated usage of NRM party. Mzee surely like to make blast and bang while using spin-doctors to portray him as the national father of the country. While the other parties can nearly scrap enough funding for their own campaigns! And the other parties can’t use government equipment like the NRM does once in a while. As this report has pointed out and none of us who follows the NRM should be shocked and awe, it’s more the same old story. Well, that was enough for today. Peace!
Alliance for Campaign – ‘MONITORING CAMPAIGN EXPENSES DURING
THE PRE-ELECTION PERIOD’ – PROGRESS REPORT NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2015
The Insider – ‘Opondo: NRM money won’t cause inflation’ (23.01.2016) link: http://www.theinsider.ug/opondo-nrm-money-wont-cause-inflation/