NRM dishes out money to locals ahead of polls

NRM supporters cheer President Museveni as he arrived in Kisoro to address  party youth and leaders meeting on Monday. PHOTO | KELVIN ATUHAIRE

What you need to know:

  •  The Jinja District NRM vice chairperson, Mr Majid Dhikusooka, said the NRM secretariat facilitated NRM village committee chairpersons with Shs300, 000 for mobilising the voters in their respective villages.

The National Resistance Movement (NRM)  party is giving out money to Local Council 1 chairpersons to distribute to their NRM supporters, a few days to polling day, Daily Monitor has established.

Uganda goes to polls next week Thursday.
 The money is being distributed with instructions to vote for President Museveni, according to some of the beneficiaries.

 An NRM mobiliser in Mbarara City North, who preferred anonymity to speak freely, on Monday told Daily Monitor that he  has distributed money to some residents.

 “We were told to register residents. I was given Shs700, 000 and I distributed it all. Each beneficiary received Shs10, 000. It was not enough and I have asked for more. However,  I  was asked to account for the Shs700,000 which I have given,” he said.
  Mr Trevor Baleke, the  Kamuli District NRM administrator, said the money is to facilitate their agents on polling day.

 The Jinja District NRM vice chairperson, Mr Majid Dhikusooka, said the NRM secretariat facilitated NRM village committee chairpersons with Shs300, 000 for mobilising the voters in their respective villages.
 “It is true there is money that was extended by the secretariat to our village committee chairpersons to facilitate their movement and sensitise the voters about NRM manifesto,” Mr Dhikusooka said.  
 In Kaberamaido, Mr John Peter Eumu, the LC1 chairperson of Obur Village, Kabwal-Kweru Parish in Ochero Sub-county, acknowledged receiving Shs300, 000 in December for his village party members.
 He said each NRM village member received between Shs1000 and Shs1500.
 Mr Godfrey Birungi, the chairman of Rwengoma A3 Cell in Fort Portal City, said he has not received any money.

 “Those saying they were given money are spreading propaganda,” he said.
 In Gulu, Mr Jimmy Ociti, the  LC1 chairman of Pece Lukung,  said:  “We received Shs300, 000and this money was given to NRM structures at the village level for mobilisation but not as a bribe.”
 Mr Thomas Raymond Opira, the LC1 of Pabbo Quarters in Gulu City, said he did not get any money.

 Mr Benson Odongo, the LC2 chairman of Abella Parish, Aleka Sub-county in Oyam District, said the money has not yet reached his area of jurisdiction.
 Mr Daniel Ojok Aruca, the Okwang LC3 chairman, acknowledged that candidates running for various positions are distributing between Shs1,000 and Shs2,000 to every eligible voter who attends their campaign rallies.

 “We have realised that the majority of our Members of Parliament have joined politics to make money but this time round, they have miscalculated. We shall vote people based on their capability ,” he says.  In Kabale, the district NRM party registrar, Mr Morris Keitaba, said they are not bribing voters but giving party flag-bearers facilitation.

 “The party is giving money to its flag-bearers to buy stationary for use in their respective offices. Flag-bearers are receiving between Shs100, 000 and to Shs 2 million depending on what was required for their nominations,” Mr Keitaba said.

 In Adjumani, the district NRM chairperson, Mr  Francis Akule Illa,  said: “It is true that we have given out cash to NRM leaders at village and parish levels but it is not for bribing voters. It is to cater for grassroots logistical support.”
 According to a study by DEMGroup, the use of money in elections has become a culture in Uganda and voters are  now accustomed to receiving bribes for their votes.

The study adds that  commercialisation of politics through the distribution of vast amounts of money and gifts surfaced prominently in the report by Commonwealth Observer Group of February 2011.
 Section 64 of the Presidential Elections Act and Section 68 of the Parliamentary Elections Act prohibit candidates from giving or providing any money, gift or any other consideration to a voter. Violation constitutes the offence of bribery and the accused on conviction is liable to a fine not exceeding seventy two currency points (Shs1, 440,000) or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.

 Compiled by Bill Oketch, Robert Muhereza, Alex Ashaba, Denis Edema, Rajab Mukombozi, Sam Opio Caleb, Emmanuel Olila, Geoffrey Okot & Martin Okudi