Wednesday, February 16, 2011

good editorial

The question is who can insitute such a probe?

Campaign funding should be probed

It is close to the polling day and most of what we have witnessed could easily point to a peaceful and stable campaign season. This is especially so in comparison to the tension that we witnessed in the previous general elections.
Besides the veneer of stability, the one attribute that is unique to this election is the magnitude of resources that have been unleashed, especially by the incumbent government. This is not to say that the other contestants’ sources of financing should not be probed.

It is, however, important that the matter of scrutinising the incumbent government’s resources is taken seriously because of the broader interests of public resources that are involved.

Last month, Parliament approved a supplementary budget of Shs602 billion ($260 million), sending the total figure to Shs8 trillion ($3.4billion). This followed additional budget allocations for State House, the Electoral Commission, the army and the inspectorate of government.

Not long after passing the supplementary budgetary, Finance Minister Syda Bbumba admitted that the government was broke. Surprising as it was, this revelation drew much attention to the government’s fiscal discipline.

The final stretch is here, let’s stay sober Sources have revealed that some of the money that was supposed to go into productive sectors was channelled into the NRM campaigns. It is this money that the often unsuspecting and venal followers of the incumbent government have been chasing after.

Again, this is not to say that the incumbent government does not have genuine sources of funding. But in this case, there is little doubt that public resources have been tampered with. In fact a ministry of finance official recently confirmed that 85 per cent of the budget has been spent but a total of Shs3.2 trillion was blown in January.

With a lot of this money not being used for capital development, there are concerns that a little while after the elections, the cost of living is likely to go up while the standard of living will go down. We need to raise our standards of accountability. Ugandans should not accept to bear the burden of this indiscipline.

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