While conducting the research and interviews on enhancing transparency and accountability of electoral processes in Uganda, AFIC’s Gilbert Sendungwa and Peter Katonene, held a meeting with Uganda Parliament’s Speaker Hon Rebecca Kadaga, below is what transpired.
“Show me a law in Uganda that requires me to disclose my source election financing”, Uganda Parliament’s Speaker Hon Rebecca Kadaga scoffed, while asked why politicians do not reveal their sources of funding. AFIC’s Gilbert Sendungwa, politely interjected by explaining that it is in the public’s legitimate interest to know where their leaders get their election financing from; after silent thought, persuaded; the speaker then conceded, “If such a law was presented to me in Parliament, I would support it”
Uganda’s Access to Information Act 2005 establishes a proactive, more open approach to gaining access to government information. The objectives of the Act are to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic Government that is open, accountable, fair and effective.
Political parties or political candidates are not covered by Uganda’s Access to Information Act 2005. The law applies to information and all records of Government ministries, departments, local governments, statutory corporations and bodies, commissions and other government organs and agencies.
The law regulating activities of political parties, The Political Party Organisation Act 2005, in section 9 (5), allows members of the public to inspect declarations of assets and liabilities presented to the Electoral Commission by political parties upon payment of a fee.
The law obliges political parties to make declarations to the Electoral Commission, and not to the public.
While speaking to AFIC’s Peter Katonene, opposition party Member of Parliament candidate Odo Tayebwa stated that he would vehemently support a law requiring election finance be disclosed.
“The President was campaigning in Bushenyi, my constituency and his campaign has been highly monetized, everyone wants his campaign money; let people know the source of that money,” Hon Tayebwa quipped.
Uganda’s ruling party MP’s Hon Jessica Alupo and Hon Raphael Magezi also stated that they would definitely be interested in a law that specifically governs election financing.