Luwero, Uganda | URN | More than 30 National Resistance Movement [NRM] Candidates for District Councilor seats have besieged the Party offices in Luwero town council in protest against alleged embezzlement of 36 million shillings meant for their mobilization activities.
On January 20th, the polling day for Local Governments elections, the NRM disbursed funds to district party accounts to facilitate candidates vying district councilor seats. The money was supposed to help council candidates pay their polling agents and mobilize supporters to vote for them.
Luwero district NRM offices received 36 million shillings but till now, no single contestant has received any of the money.
On Monday 25th, the candidates, many of whom lost the elections, besieged the party offices demanding for their money and accusing the District Executive Committee of embezzling it.
Flavia Nakitende the NRM candidate for Kalagala sub county and Busiika town council says that they received information that the District Executive Committee members withdrew the funds from party account and pocketed it.
Nakitende adds that since Saturday they have tried to seek attention of the Executive members in vain forcing them to storm the offices to demand for it.
Moreen Nazziwa, the NRM candidate for Nyimbwa sub county and Ndejje town says that agents are on her neck demanding for their allowances but she has failed to pay them and she also lost the seat over lack of money.
Nazziwa questioned why the officials have failed to release the money till now yet other contestants in Nakaseke and Nakasongola districts have already received the same facilitation.
Hadijja Nakazi Lulika the NRM Candidate and incumbent councilor for Makulubita sub county says that they are tired of officials of always embezzling the little they get from the party. Lulika said that corruption is partly responsible for NRM loss of support in Luwero.
Umar Kasule the NRM Candidate and incumbent councilor for Katikamu sub county says that he is in hiding from his agents after failing to pay them and losing the seat.
Kasule says they need the money for debts and move on after losing the elections.
Herbert Kigo the incumbent councilor for Kalagala sub county says that they have resolved to file a case of embezzlement at Luwero Central Police Station against the Party Executive Committee members.
Kigo also appealed to NRM secretariat to investigate the Party Executive Members in Luwero over alleged embezzlement.
Shafik Ntege the Luweero NRM Administrator persuaded the former contestants to calm down and promised to present the matter to Director Administration and Finance at Party Secretariat so as to order the Executive Members to pay them.
Ntege confirmed the money was received but couldn’t explain why the District Executive Members are yet to pay the intended beneficiaries.
But when reached, Zenar Nasur the Luwero NRM Vice Chairperson says that they received the money and used it for mobilization for Local Government elections.
Nasur adds that there was no immediate circular that money was supposed to be disbursed to each councilor and only learnt this later after it had been spent.
Nasur explained that they had already spent the money and presented accountabilities to NRM secretariat.
NRM lost majority of district councilors’ seats in the concluded elections in Luwero.
According to Electoral Commission [EC] results, NRM retained only five councilor seats, NUP captured 11 seats, three slots were taken by FDC and eight won by independent candidates.
Cases of embezzlement at Luwero NRM Party offices are not uncommon during election season.
In August 2020, over 27 million shillings meant to pay for 606 youths village flagbearers was embezzled in Luwero leaving them crying foul.
In 2015, more than 100 National Resistance Movement [NRM] village chairpersons and supporters besieged the Luweero district party offices protesting against alleged embezzlement of their allowances.
They accused Zirobwe Sub County NRM officials of forging their signatures and embezzling over 15 million shillings that was disbursed by NRM party to cater for their allowances in village meetings and mobilization.