Some members of the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) have called for a reduction in nomination fees for candidates if the party is to realise inclusion in participation in the electoral process.
The nominations for UPC party president are scheduled to commence on June 29. The UPC faction led by Jimmy Akena has announced that prospective candidates should produce Shs20 million as nomination fee.
The nomination fees for Member of Parliament is Shs1 million, LC5 chairpersons Shs500,000, LC5 councillors Shs100,000, city mayors Shs500,000 and municipality mayor Shs300,000.
Prospective candidates for division mayors will pay Shs200,000, LC3 chairpersons Shs100,000, municipal councillors Shs20,000 and LC3 councillor Shs10,000, according to Akena’s UPC-led electoral roadmap.
But members of the old guard are concerned that the high fees would lock out competent people from participating in the electoral process.
Mr Dennis Adim Enap said Akena’s term in office lapsed on May 30, and that he has no mandate whatsoever to issue a roadmap without authorisation. Mr Isaac Enangu said the nomination fee for UPC party president is shameful.
“Why Shs20m when we are demanding for inclusion and not exclusion? Where can an average youth get such amount to contest?” he asked.
“This is the sad state of such people at the apex of power...money and exclusion matters to them more than anything,” he added.
Mr Enangu said UPC has numerous sources of raising revenues starting from Uganda House, party membership fee, Electoral Commission, among other sources besides lobbying spearheaded by the party president.
“A party cannot wait for electioneering time to try to get resources, especially from flag bearers. You will end up being bought off and buried by the highest bidder,” he said.
However, Mr Andrew Omara, a spokesperson of UPC party president, Jimmy Akena, has been defending the nomination fees on social media.
“Councillors will pay Shs10,000 and Shs20,000 and that is the real meaning of inclusion. But also nomination fees is another way of fundraising as the party has no sources of income to run the electoral process...,” he said in a Facebook post.
“Money from the Electoral Commission is little and mostly runs headquarters affairs and few mobilisation events...,” he added.
Presidential aspirant Dan Okello said picking nomination forms within the party should be free of charge.
Dr Okello, a former Makerere University lecturer, who has shown interest in contesting against President Museveni in the 2021 polls, said if the party insisted on the high nomination fees “they are not going to receive anybody”.
Constitution. Nomination of candidates may be made by a political organisation or political party sponsoring a candidate or by a candidate standing for election as an independent without being sponsored by a political organisation or political party. The secretary general of a party or a person designated by him or her shall ensure that the nomination papers are endorsed and sealed.