The prevalence of voter inducement in Uganda’s elections.

The prevalence of voter inducement in Uganda’s elections.

Hon. Kateshumbwa Dickson donating wheel chairs and other items to Kabwohe Health Centre and Sheema Development Associationa during his campaigns in 2020 (Photo Courtesy of Showbiz Uganda)

Voter inducement refers to acts taken by political parties and candidates towards the electorate with intent to lure and entice them for their vote or vote in a particular direction.

A study on Campaign Financing for Uganda’s 2021 general elections by ACFIM revealed that voter inducement took the form of cash handouts, voter hospitality where the electorate were entertained by the “kind-hearted/generous” candidates who provided food, drinks and other forms of entertainment, community service goods such COVID-19 relief food during lockdown, grading of community roads, extending electricity and water supply lines to the electorate and credit facilities to women and youth groups, as well as other forms of donations.

Whereas section 68 of the Parliamentary Elections Act 2005 (as amended) makes voter bribery illegal, the practice is to the contrary. Voter inducement formed the largest proportion of campaign costs incurred by political parties and candidates during Uganda’s 2021 elections campaign period.

Spending on Voter Inducement by Political Affiliation

SecretsKnown learned that political candidates were severally observed engaging in acts of voter inducement before and during the campaign period, the difference was in degree as illustrated below.

How Voter Inducement Manifested in Uganda’s 2021 elections

The most prevalent form of voter inducement was economic empowerment to groups of youth, women and others through extension of credit facilities to village saving associations, donation of motorcycles (bodaboda) to youth, and microfinance for market vendors.

This accounted for 47.3 percent of the total reported spending on this variable, followed by provision of COVID-19 relief and supplies including food to the electorate during national lockdown, transport for the sick to access medical services and hand wash facilities. This accounted for 13.2 percent of the spending on voter inducement.

The third most common form of voter inducement was spending on voter facilitation, also known as vote buying where candidates donate cash to the electorate prior to and on Election-Day in anticipation that the recipients will vote for them.

Details are provided below.

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