Ugandan citizens will go to the polls on Thursday to elect their president and members of parliament. Ahead of the election, NDI’s local partner, the Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), has been conducting a village-based campaign to reduce vote buying and selling. This sort of corruption has been a significant challenge surrounding Ugandan elections. A July 2015 Afrobarometer survey found that 85 percent of Ugandans reported that candidates offered food, gifts or money in return for their vote.
ACFIM is a coalition of 16 civil society organizations advocating for increased transparency in the financing of political parties and election campaigning. With NDI’s support, ACFIM is conducting a robust anti-vote buying campaign targeting 1,427 randomly-selected villages throughout Uganda. The campaign comprises a door-to-door leaflet drop followed by three deliberative village discussions on the issue of vote buying, its impact, causes and consequences, and lastly, a village resolution to reject vote buying and selling.
Villages that vote for the resolution will display bright pink posters that state “TOGETHER WE STAND AS A NO VOTE BUYING VILLAGE” to further discourage vote buyers. Prior to election day, each individual who attended the meetings will receive an automated phone call urging them to remember their commitments, the law, and to reject vote buying.
In the weeks leading up to this week’s election, ACFIM reached more than 400,000 voters. ACFIM facilitators conducted nearly 4,000 village meetings in 52 of Uganda’s 112 districts, at which more than 40,000 citizens attended.
During these meetings, citizens shared their frustrations. They recalled incidences of elected officials’ attempts made at buying the votes of citizens. In Abitibit village in eastern Uganda, one participant commented: “We lack so many public services…we do not want to receive their 1,000 shillings. Whoever wants to help us should come and put up a classroom block instead.”
ACFIM is also supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.
Published on February 16, 2016