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I have never used money in politics, says Museveni

President Museveni has warned the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party leaders against what he described as unnecessary use of money in elective politics.

Mr Museveni, who is also the NRM national chairman said commercialisation of politics is not practical and sustainable, according to a statement released by Mr Rogers Mulindwa, the NRM party spokesperson.

He made the remarks on Sunday while meeting the NRM District chairpersons at State House in Entebbe.

According to him, money should only be used on crucial logistics like transport, adding that commercialisation of politics was partly the cause of grievances among NRM members.

“I have never and I don’t support the use of money in politics,” he said.

Mr Museveni further reiterated that he would provide the NRM district chairpersons with vehicles, motorcycles for sub county chairpersons and bicycles for village chairpersons.

President Museveni was in February 2016 estimated to have spent a minimum of $231m (Shs773b) to secure a fifth elective term in office, a report by activists who tracked the money that was poured into the 2016 campaigns, revealed.

Mr Museveni’s spending was followed by the Go Forward’s Amama Mbabazi, who was estimated to have used $19.9m (Shs66b) to market his first-time bid for the presidency.

FDC flag bearer Kizza Besigye, who was the runner-up in the election, was estimated to have used $4.5m (Shs15b) to traverse the 112 districts. Dr Besigye collected Shs97m from his supporters.

The other five candidates were estimated to have spent less than a billion shillings each.

Prof Venansious Baryamureeba $0.46m (Shs1.5b), Benon Biraaro $0.26m (Shs871m), Abed Bwanika $0.24(Shs841m), Joseph Mabirizi $ 0.13m (Shs435m) and Maureen Kyalya $ 0.02m (Shs67m).

This money did not include the nomination fees paid to the Electoral Commission.
The report by Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), a loose coalition of CSO activists, was based on data that was collected from a sample of 16 districts throughout the three-month campaign period and extrapolated to cover all 112 districts in the country.

The sampled districts were; Kampala, Luweero, Masaka, Iganga, Nwoya, Hoima, Kanungu, Kabarole, Apac, Bushenyi, Kabale, Kabarole, Lira, Katakwi, Moroto and Arua.

ACFIM estimated that presidential candidates spent a combined total of at least Shs857b to run their campaigns, excluding money that was spent at national level to for instance, convening delegates’ conferences and holding party primaries.

The report noted that spending on selected campaign material such as branded paraphernalia accounted for the biggest chunk of presidential candidates’ expenditure.

Mr Museveni was estimated to have spent Shs25b on campaign materials such as branded T-Shirts, fliers, caps and bandanas while Mr Mbabazi spent Shs1.4b on the same venture. Dr Besigye was estimated to have spent Shs662m on such campaign materials.

But campaign teams of the three leading candidates all reacted to the report’s findings with skepticism, insisting that the figures were an exaggeration.

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