The Bugiri Municipality legislator Asuman Basalirwa President for Justice Forum (JEEMA) has revealed that he is planning to sue government over unfair funding of opposition political parties.
He said government is conniving with the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) to underfund opposition political parties as one way of weakening their operations.
According to the Political Parties and Organisation Act, government through the Ministry of Finance is supposed to fund all eligible political parties that have members in the August House. The funds must be shared equally however opposition political parties pin government of giving NRM almost three-quarters of the budgeted money.
In the last elections, over Shs15bn was released by the government as per the law, and the said fund was supposed to be shared amongst the eligible parties equally however NRM took more than a half, that is to say, Shs12,506,925,208, the second was Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Shs1,537,396,122, Democratic Party (DP) Sh623,268,698, Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) Shs290,858,726 and JEEMA got Shs41,551,246.
While speaking during the launch of a report by the Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) on Wednesday in Kampala, Basalirwa said that government has been violating instructions of the law by using the ‘numerical strength’ basis, even where they are supposed to use the ‘equal’ basis.
According to Basalirwa, the numerical strength basis is supposed to be used on funds meant for the day-to-day activities of the eligible political parties. Under such arrangement, NRM is favoured because it usually accounts for more than one-third of MPs, meaning it takes more than two-thirds of the funds.
“Following the refusal by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to adhere to these provisions, my party opted out of the last Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) meeting and we have now decided to go to court to sue government over unfair funding of the opposition political parties because this is an intended move by the government,” he said.
Opposition politicians allude that underfunding their parties was one of the tactics NRM is using to make opposition candidates fail since the ruling party gets most of the money which they give to their candidates thus a big advantage over the others who don’t have money.