The National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has set aside a whooping UGX 60 Billion to spend on its flag-bearers in the national elections at all levels across the country.
Reading from an Internal Memo issued by the party secretary general, Ms Justine Kasule Lumumba, it is indicated that the party has set aside this funds to facilitate their candidates to procure campaign materials.
“This contribution from the party is strictly meant to facilitate procurement of campaign logistics and materials to support your respective campaign efforts, including procurement of posters, transport, airtime, water and refreshments for task forces and campaign agents,” the memo reads in part.
According to the memo, each parliamentary candidate standing to represent a constituency will be given Shs40m to facilitate their election campaigns.
This means that the party will spend Shs14.12b to facilitate its candidates. The party has allocated Shs50m to each woman parliamentary candidate. There are 146 districts and 10 cities which also have a woman MP. This means Shs7.8b will be spent on the women parliamentary candidates nationwide.
The Memo still reads that NRM party candidates representing Special Interest Groups at parliamentary level will each be rewarded Shs80m. There are four of candidates in this category, who will receive Shs320m altogether.
The rest of the 16 Special Interest Group parliamentary candidates, who represent the country’s four regions, will bag Shs60m each. This translates to Shs840m for the 16 NRM party candidates.
The communique also notes that the party will reimburse the Shs3m nomination fees that each candidate paid to the Electoral Commission.
This will cost the party Shs1.587b for the 529 candidates. For the 10 City Mayoral candidates, the memo said, each will receive Shs60million which translates to Shs600m. On the other hand, each of the 146 candidates for the LCV chairperson’s seat will receive Shs50m, totaling to Shs7.3b. For each of the candidates for the directly elected councillor to the district or city, the party has earmarked Shs1million.
There are 2184 sub-counties in the country, according to figures from the Electoral Commission. This means that NRM will spend Shs2.184b on this category of candidates. For the woman councillors at the division and city levels, the party will pay Shillings 1.5million for each candidate. For the 2184 sub-counties, the party will part with Shillings 3.276billion. For the 41 municipal or city division chairpersons, the party will pay each candidate Shillings 20million which translates to Shillings 820million.
The memo also notes that each councillor at the division will receive Shillings 500,000, which brings it to Shillings 2.184billion. For the 2184 sub-county chairperson candidate, the party will pay each Shillings 1million meaning that they will spend Shillings 2.184billion. For councillors at the sub-county level, Shillings 100,000 has been aside for each of the candidates.
Ordinarily, each parish is represented by two councillors at the sub-county level. According to the Electoral Commission figures, there are currently 10,595 parishes. This brings to Shillings 2.119billion, the money the party intends to spend on Sub County Councilors. The party is also going to reimburse all the nominations fees paid by the candidates to the Electoral Commission.
The decision by the party to dish out money to candidates reignites the old debate on the source of its funding. NRM has been routinely under criticism from the opposition for using state resources for partisan work.
Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the Opposition Chief Whip in parliament who is also defending his position as the Kira Municipality Member of Parliament, says there is a benefit of being an NRM candidate.
“Standing on an opposition ticket is war but for NRM there is a lot of benefits. So I actually get surprised when the NRM only gets 12 unopposed MPs,” Ssemujju said. But speaking to URN, Rogers Mulindwa, the spokesperson of the NRM secretariat said that they have known and verifiable sources of incomes.
“We have five sources of money; one, every month our Members of Parliament contribute to the party, two, we charge nomination fees during our party primaries, three, we do fundraising, four, we get money from the government as a party based on numerical strength in parliament, and five we get money from well-wishers,” Mulindwa said.
He, however, didn’t want to be drawn in the debate of how much each MP pays as a monthly contribution to the party.