Unregulated influence of money on Uganda’s election outcomes is a primary concern of ACCU and other ACFIM member organizations mainly because of the challenges it poses to evolution of democracy. Excessive use of money in election campaigns has deprived Ugandans of the power to objectively determine their political leaders. In a survey by ACFIM on Commercialization of Politics in Uganda targeting Members of the 10thParliament, 90% of MPs agreed that the cost of competing for a Parliamentary seat had increased almost ten times since 2001.
The practice of the candidate in the office of the president, at the time of a general election, peddling influence with public resources to skew the election outcomes has for a long time now been at the fore front of opposition presidential aspirants as the number one stumbling block to a free and fair elections. The amendment of the Presidential Elections act in 2010 to legally allow the incumbent continue use of the state resources to facilitate his/her election campaign only confirmed the fears that many had and the talk was no longer corridor but rather main stream.
The use of public resources for elections can only be officially traced through monitoring the Electoral Commission budget and the budget of the State House as provided for under Sector 27 (2) of the Presidential Elections Act. However, looking at other public institutions that have a great influence on the election process helps to track the utilisation of public finances during elections. This interest is from the understanding and suspicion that the some of the funds from the public coffers, other than those from the EC and State House, have in the past elections been used to influence the election outcomes in favour of one of the candidates. For the 2016, general elections, CSOs under ACFIM sought to track the utilisation of the national budget for the FY 2015/16 to tease out incidences and instances as well as suspicions where public resources are used to influence the 2016 general election in favour of the incumbent.