The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) is to spend close to Shs 60 billion to bolster support for its candidates as the country gears up for next year’s general elections.
The NRM Secretary-General, Justine Kasule Lumumba in a communication sent out to the party’s district chairpersons indicated that the money is meant 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 candidate for the directly elected MP seats is entitled to the facilitation of Shs 40 million.
Records from the Electoral Commission show that there are 353 constituencies. Save for a few Mawogola North and Bukanga County where the party did not field a candidate due to disagreements over the winner of the primaries, the party has candidates in the remaining constituencies nationwide.
This means that the party will spend Shs 14.12 billion to facilitate its candidates.
The party has allocated Shs 50 million to each district woman parliamentary candidates. There are 146 districts and 10 cities which also have a woman MP which means the party will spend Shs 7.8 billion on its woman parliamentary candidates nationwide.
The party’s national Special Interest Group parliamentary candidates will pocket Shs 80 million which puts the expenditure for category at Shs 320 million.
The rest of the 16 Special Interest Group parliamentary candidates, who represent the country’s four regions, will bag Shillings 60 million each which translates to Shs 840 million for the 16 NRM party candidates.
The party will also reimburse the Shs 3 million the parliamentary candidates paid in nomination fees.
This will cost the party Shillings 1.587 billion for the 529 candidates.
Each of the 10 City Mayoral candidates will receive Shs 60 million adding up to Shs 600 million while each of the 146 candidates for the district chairperson will receive Shs 50 million – totalling to Shs 7.3 billion.
Each of the candidates for the directly elected councillor to the district or city councils will get Shs 1 million.
According to Electoral Commission figures, there are 2184 sub-counties in the country. This means that NRM will spend Shs 2.184 billionon this category of candidates.
For the woman councillors at the division and city levels, the party will pay Shs 1.5million for each candidate. For the 2184 sub-counties, the party will part with Shs 3.276billion. For the 41 municipal or city division chairpersons, the party will pay each candidate Shs 20 million which translates to Shs 820 million.
The memo also notes that each councillor at the division will receive Shs 500,000, which brings it to Shs 2.184 billion. For the 2,184 sub-county chairperson candidate, the party will pay each Shs 1million meaning that they will spend Shs 2.184 billion. For councillors at the sub-county level, Shs 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 Shs 2.119 billion, 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.