A proposal by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to cut the Electoral Commission’s (EC) proposal for the 2021 elections has been rejected by legislators.
On January 28, 2020, the Minister of Finance Hon. Matia Kasaijja told MPs on the committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that EC’s budget will be reviewed due to shortcomings within the treasury.
The minister appeared before the committee over concerns that were raised by the EC over a funding shortfall amounting to 518 billion shillings to conduct electoral activities in 2021. He said that he had held a meeting with officials from the EC and agreed that agencies should review their budgets and look for areas that should be subjected to cuts.
He went on to dismiss rumors alleging that elections would not be held due to lack of funding as false and that all parties concerned with conducting elections had funding to conduct the elections.
Lawmakers however accused the minister of intimidating the EC chairperson forcing him to accept to review the budget for the 2021 elections. Hon. Jovia Kamateeka questioned the proposal to cut the budget yet the process of budget making is ongoing.
Hon. Ssemujju Nganda warned that failure to appropriate adequate funds will expose the EC to the challenges they faced in the last elections were voting material was delivered late. He as well added that budget cuts would push the EC against the wall as they would end up organizing elections that are not free and fair.
Hon. Robinah Rwakoojo added that that there was no justification for failure to fund all electoral activities because the Ministry has known about the budget for five years.
“Every aspect of the election road map is important. This budget should not be cut. If the Minister of Finance also wants to come back to Parliament as an MP, please make the process smooth for all,” she said.
The Committee chairperson, Hon Oboth Oboth directed the minister to present the final figures agreed with the EC on Friday, 31 January 2020 for further scrutiny.