KAMPALA – The Electoral Commission (EC) of Uganda has taken a significant step towards enhancing the country’s electoral process by launching its roadmap and strategic plan for the upcoming 2026 general elections. The launch ceremony, held at Hotel African in Kampala on 2nd August 2023, marked the early release of these plans to provide ample time for political party players, stakeholders, and the government to prepare adequately for a smooth, free, and fair electoral process.
Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, called upon the government to approve the creation of new administrative units in a timely manner to avoid disrupting the electoral program and budget. He also warned political parties against misusing the early release of the plans for selfish campaigning activities and urged them to adhere to the commission’s approved and regulated program.
The strategic plan for 2022/2023-2026/2027 and the roadmap for the 2026 general elections are built upon the results of extensive research and country-wide stakeholder consultations conducted by the EC. These consultations included post-election evaluation workshops following the 2020/2021 general election, where stakeholders provided valuable feedback on the electoral process and conduct.
The objectives of the strategic plan include enhancing citizen participation, strengthening stakeholder collaboration and engagement, delivering free and fair elections and referenda, improving information sharing, public trust, and confidence in the electoral process, and enhancing the capacity of the Electoral Commission.
To ensure a smooth election process, Byabakama stressed the need for timely amendment/enactment of electoral laws and approval for the creation of new administrative units. He expressed gratitude towards the government and development partners for funding the Electoral Commission and urged the government to continue providing adequate funding in a timely manner.
The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, who was the guest of honour at the launch, assured the EC of her office’s commitment to ensure the timely enactment of relevant laws for the 2025/2026 General Elections before the end of the 2023/2024 financial year. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Norbert Mao, emphasized the importance of civic education to empower citizens and foster a better understanding of the electoral process.
According to Leonard Mulekwah, the EC Secretary, the roadmap highlighted various crucial aspects of the electoral process, such as the registration of voters and voter registers display, nomination of candidates, and demarcation of electoral areas. Nominations for the President are expected to take place between 2nd October and 3rd October 2025, and the demarcation of electoral areas should be completed by July 2024.
The Electoral Commission is expected to allocate a colossal budget of 1.3 trillion Uganda shillings for the 2026 general elections, significantly higher than previous budgets for similar exercises. However, financing will depend on the allocation from the government. The total cost of the roadmap and strategic plan is estimated at 1,387,821 trillion Uganda shillings.
The EC acknowledged that the allocated budget of 566.20 billion Uganda shillings out of the commission’s budget estimate of 2,541,409 billion Uganda shillings (22.28%) is insufficient to fully fund the general elections roadmap, which is projected to cost 1,387,821 trillion Uganda shillings.
The projected elections’ major cost drivers include the increasing cost of conducting elections due to continuous improvements and reforms in the electoral processes, the rise in the number of constituencies and administrative units, the increase in the voting population, the number of elective positions, nominated candidates, adoption of ICTs, the number and pay of ad hoc staff, polling stations, and the costs of observing standard operation procedures for COVID-19 prevention, price changes, and exchange rates.
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