UPC and national Electoral Commission’s shs20m for nominations: Too much for ambitious youth?

Kampala – 3 November 2020: For the last ten months or more, Uganda’s political environment has seen many youth coming out to vie for different political offices and to challenge the status quo.

These youths have all emerged from ruling NRM party, top opposition parties like FDC, DP, UPC, ANT and new entrants; NUP and ANT respectively.

However, it seems it’s “only NUP and NRM” with big percentage of aspirants who are youth in the forthcoming general elections.

Some youthful aspirants have also chosen to vie on independent ticket for their different interests and reasons.

Most prominent are presidential aspirants John Katumba and Nancy Kalembe.

According to TND News findings, one key factor which has affected many youths in their ambitions to challenge and change the status quo and take political leadership is “nomination fee being too high” for them.

Early this year, three “young aspirants” came out with sole intention to take over the top leadership of UPC party from Jimmy James Micheal Akena.

Mr Akena who was seeking a second term as UPC party president, temporarily faced competitions from Mr Tom Omino (his former personal assistant), Mr Denis Enap Adim and Ms Beatrice Amaro.

The three aspirants soon pulled out of the race following a decision by the UPC cabinet under Mr Akena to hike the nomination fee from shs3m to shs20m.

In one of his statements after pulling out, Omino said it was “illegal to increase nomination fee” without “wider consultation of party members”.

On 8 July 2020, Akena was announced unopposed by his UPC electoral commission chairman, Hajji Kazimbiraine Mahmoud during a press conference.

“Picking and returning of party presidential nomination forms started on Monday 29 June and ended on 3rd July 2020,” Mahmoud said.

Out of the four aspirants, the UPC electoral commission chairman said, then: “It’s only one applicant, Hon. Jimmy Akena who returned the nomination form by close of business of the first exercise on 3rd July 2020, and he is now a sole candidate for the position of the party president.”

Another scenario

On Monday 2 November 2020, two young-ambitious presidential aspirants for 2021 were rejected by the national electoral commission chairman for not meeting the entire presidential nomination requirements.

Mr John Katumba, 22, and Nancy Kalembe all independent aspirants, according to EC chairman Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi didn’t show proof of payments of a presidential nomination fee of shs20m.

They were rejected and both left Kyambogo University Cricket Ground after addressing the media.

Ms Nancy Kalembe told media “there was a delayed payment somewhere and I take full responsibility”.

Once duly nominated on last day on Tuesday, she will be a sole female aspirant for presidency in 2021 elections.

She told media Monday that Uganda needs a female president who will bring the “whole children” together irrespective of political, religious affiliations.

For John Katumba, he was frustrated by both the bank and electoral commission, revealing the latter responded “arrogantly to his letter” on difficulty to pay shs20m for his nomination.

According to him, the bank needed his Tax Identification Number (TIN) and yet he owns no company nor employed.

Lugazi Ismael, a retired councillor residing in Nakawa Division, Kampala told this publication that “too much for nomination fee” could have caused embarrassment to both young-ambitious Kalembe and Katumba.

“They all knew there would be no bargain on nomination day, but, like most youths, they chose to face it,” Mr Lugazi added.

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