Opinion: New strict campaign finance limits in the new Electoral Reforms…
I got to go at this law one more time, as there is one more consequential thing in it, that cannot be understated. This is real worry, because, this really limits the reach for the candidates, as they have to prepare in advance all the funds and everything before the elections. They have only two weeks to declare how they have raised funds, by whom and also the amount to able to campaign.
That is vital information, as this limits indirectly, the reach of the opposition and their campaigns. This should also stop the National Resistance Movement (NRM) from finding new funds, new money to suddenly have gifts, voter tourism and whatnot, which they didn’t announce two weeks after the nomination.
Take a look!
“(1b) candidate shall declare to the commission, within fourteen days after nomination day, the source of funds for financing his or her election.
“(4) (a) A candidate or candidate’s agent shall not- obtain, solicit or receive any financial or other assistance from any foreign Government, institution, body or person which or who has demonstrated an intention to overthrow the lawfully established Government of Uganda, or to endanger the security of Uganda;
(b) obtain, solicit or receive any financial or other assistance from an organisation which has been declared a terrorist organisation under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2002” (Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2019).
The law is also scary vague on key components like the issue of financial or other assistance from foreign government, institution, body or person, whose intention is to overthrow a legal established Government of Uganda. This means, any sort of organization, whose funding is foreign and who works with governance could get into trouble to finance NGOs and others, which implies in a Multi-Party Democracy, that someone else than the incumbents should actually have the possibility to win. Alas, we know, in an Ugandan election that is impossible. Because, the House always WINS, sort of like the rigged Casinos.
This amendment is clearly stifling the ideas like we saw in the previous election, where the citizens gave gifts and donations all along, as Kizza Besigye travelled across the Republic to give small donations here and there. Clearly, because, the NRM and their allies want to underscore and know how much they have on the books and verify their sources. Since, we know, they will not tell how much of the State House budget, the OPM or others goes directly to the President and his team of associates. No, they will make a way to be the smooth operator, but this law is get more strings attached to the opposition.
By all means, no political party or candidate should be used a foreign party to intervene or to overthrow an government, neither should money or funding play into it. That is fine, but that the Electoral Commission needs to know 14 days after the nomination, are really limiting the scope for fundraising, especially with all the conditions put into play.
The rest of the law is straight forward and understandable by all accounts, it is a measure to secure where the funding is from and not laundering money from unsolicited sources, which can be connected to terrorism and other illegal activity, which is fine. That shouldn’t be the case anyway.
But it’s the rest that put real strains on a campaign and ensures, that the candidates have to have a vault of funds to able to campaign and be running in 2021. That is if this goes through parliament and becomes actual law. Peace.