Ugandans aspiring to become Members Parliament will part with Shillings 3 million nomination fees. The decision was reached on by legislators during plenary on Tuesday evening as they discussed the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill, 2019.
Among other things, the Bill seeks to amend the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005 to delay elections in newly created districts until the next general elections provide for the participation of independent candidates, mandate Electoral Commission to designate restricted areas and provide special procedures for voting in restricted areas.
Budadiri West Member of Parliament Nathan Nandala Mafabi during the discussion called for the revision of the nomination fees for parliamentary candidates from Shillings 2 million to Shillings 200,000.
The nomination fees for parliamentary aspirants was increased from Shillings 200,000 to Shillings 3 million in 2015. But, the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill, 2019 is silent on the nomination fees.
Muwanga Kivumbi, the Butambala County MP, and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda of Kira Municipality, supported Nandala’s proposal as the former argued that the fees should be slashed to cater for low income earners who want to contest, while the latter who is also Chief Opposition Whip, said the reduction of the nomination fees will also benefit even 18-year-olds who harbor political ambitions.
This however met resistance from some legislators and the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga who argued that lowering the fees will result into an influx of contestants, which may make it difficult for Electoral Commission to conduct free and fair parliamentary elections.
Elijah Okupa of Kasilo County and Kyotera Woman MP Robinah Ssentongo supported Byaruhanga and proposed that the figure should instead be raised.
This prompted the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to urge the legislators to consider the outcry from some members of the public, particularly youth, but this fell on deaf ears as MPs still rejected Nandala’s proposal with many suggesting that the figure is either raised or maintained. Kadaga would later note that the proposal seemed to be unpopular and ruled that the Shillings 3 million nomination fees be maintained.