Uganda’s local community calls on government to curb commercialisation of politics

The community of Banyakigezi in Uganda called on President Yoweri Museveni to curb commercialisation and monetisation of politics. This was one of the five recommendations put forward by stakeholders from Kigezi region in south-western Uganda, during a regional consultation meeting on constitutional and political reforms. The meeting took place in Kabale Municipality on June 19, 2023.

The other recommendations included reducing the size or number of members of parliament and ministers as a way of cutting costs spent on them by the government. Uganda’s parliament currently has 557 members while there is a total of 82 ministers.

They also called restoration of age and term limits for presidential and parliamentary leadership aimed at promoting smooth and democratic transitions of power and good leadership. They further recommended massive civic education and raising the academic qualifications for all political seats.

The call to curb commercialisation of politics call was premised on the consensual agreement that the Ugandan electorate always voted for incompetent leaders who cannot ably represent them in parliament and the local Government council because of the influence of money. Some of the money that funds election campaigns actually comes from “dirty sources” and has a catalytic effect on political corruption.

It is commendable and perhaps also laudable that a community of citizens out of their own volition, realize that monetised and commercialised politics is a democracy threat multiplier, and call upon their government to address it. Citizens in other African countries should borrow a leaf from the Banyakigezi.

Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) has since 2016 been raising public awareness about the negative effects of commercialised and monetised elective politics which thrives in the absence of a feasible campaign finance legal framework.

ACFIM’s has been publishing reports on campaign financing and has flagged the colossal sums that are spent by candidates for general elections and by-elections. The most recent report on campaign financing for Uganda’s 2021 general elections is titled: The Banknote Controlled Vote Consent.

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