Uganda a nascent democracy: What makes conducting general elections expensive?
The Uganda Electoral Commission released its Strategic Plan for 2022/23-2026/27 ahead of the 2025/26 general elections. The funding requirement for the implementation of the five year strategic plan is estimated at Ugx 2,541,408,871,289($ 678,413,315.8), from which Ugx 1,387,820,991,029 ($ 370470195.07) is earmarked to fund the 2025/26 general elections as shown in the table below.
Table showing the estimated cost of implementing the 2025/2026 general elections roadmap.
Source: Electoral Commission Strategic Plan 2022/23-2026/27
The projected cost for implementing the 2025/2026 general elections will have increased by Ugx 689.161billion from the Ugx 698.66 billion that was used to implement the 2020/2021 general elections. The cost for conducting and organizing elections in Uganda has been on the rise. But what explains major cost drivers for the 2025/2026 general elections?
According to the Uganda Electoral Commission, the increasing cost of conducting elections has been largely due to the continuous improvement/reforms in the electoral processes, increase in the number of Constituencies and administrative units, increase in the voting population, increase in the number of elective positions, increase in the number of nominated candidates, adoption of ICTs, increase in pay of adhoc staff, increase in the number of polling stations, costs of observing standard operating procedures for the prevention of COVID-19 pandemic, price changes and exchange rates.
A section of Ugandans have already castigated the earmarked funds for implementing the 2025/2026 general elections, arguing that it does not make sense for an economically struggling country like Uganda to plan spending enormously on elections because the process in the past has been vulgarized through commercialization, securitization, abuse of state resources and disregard of the electoral laws by most political players.
Without being blind to the electoral challenges, Ugandans ought to know that organising elections in a democratically nascent country doesn’t come cheap because a lot of activities that require money will need to be implemented by the Electoral Management Body so as to fix some of the challenges from the previous elections.