President Yoweri Museveni has reacted angrily to allegations that legislators solicited bribes from aspirants for the East African Legislative Assembly EALA. Museveni told NRM legislators to be very careful with what he described as money practices saying that these are very dangerous since they devalue the importance of the vote. He said that elections should mean elections but not money and lies.
While addressing NRM MPs and EALA candidates at State House Entebbe on Wednesday night, Museveni vowed to take action against any legislator or anybody who plays around with the power of the vote.
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Several reports this week indicated that votes in parliament were up for sale with legislators demanding money from EALA aspirants in exchange for their vote. Only sitting members of parliament are the eligible voters for a candidate to the regional Assembly that sits in Arusha, Tanzania.
Dr. Tanga Odoi, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party electoral commission chairman, also mentioned the same after receiving complaints from aspirants that members of the electorate had commercialised the process.
Museveni told legislators to be very careful with what he described as money practices saying that these are very dangerous since they devalue the importance of the vote. He said that elections should mean elections but not money and lies. Museveni says he will not tolerate anybody who pollutes what he and others shed blood for.
He advised MPs that in a competition such as an election, they should use words and people will always judge and choose to, or not to, support.
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Museveni, who is also NRM's chairman, said that elections when handled properly are simple but problems emerge when actors bring an employee mentality in the process.
After abandoning the voting process on Wednesday amidst chaos, NRM party MPs reconvened at State House Entebbe to pick nominees for EALA. Seasoned politicians Mary Mugyenyi, Mathias Kasamba and Rose Akol are among the six nominees the party sends to Parliament for election. Others are Denis Odong, Paul Musamali and Denis Namara. These will join other nominees from opposition FDC, DP and UPC parties.
Each of the East African Community member countries has to send nine legislators to the Arusha-based Assembly.
There has been concern about the increasing commercialisation of politics in Uganda that keeps getting worse every election. A 2015 study by the Alliance for Election Campaign Finance Monitoring revealed that on average, a Ugandan Member of Parliament spends over 4 million shillings on each visit to a constituency.
The MPs' survey on Commercialisation of Politics in Uganda also revealed that Independent legislators spend more than their counterparts on communal services that should be the responsibility of government.