Monday, November 29, 2010

Opposition protest LC1 bicycle deal

Daily Monitor's Emanuel Mulondo today reports about one of the tricks government is using to bribe voters, and how the opposition is saying no.

A Shs8 billion government project to provide each of the 70,000 LC1 chairpersons with a bicycle is a scheme to bribe voters, the opposition have said.
The government will beginning January 9, 2011, give out the bicycles and the exercise will end on January 30.
Opposition politicians say the scheme, which begins ahead of elections in February next year, is a plan by the government to grease voters’ hands.

Mr Wafula Ogutu, the FDC spokesperson, argued that LC1 chairpersons are existing illegally.
“As far as we are concerned, there are no LCs. We went to court and court ruled that those LCs are existing illegally and ordered elections of new ones elected under multiparty system, which government has not done. They can’t use our (public) money to pay people existing illegally,” Mr Ogutu said.
Mr John Kashaka, the permanent secretary ministry of Local government, on Friday signed the supply agreement for the bicycles.
Local government minister Pereza Ahabwe, who witnessed the contract signing, said the scheme was not targeted at manipulating the leaders ahead of the elections, adding that the bicycles are meant to “equip the local leaders in monitoring government projects and serving their people.

Last year, we provided all LC3 chairpersons with motorcycles. The money was not enough to facilitate all the local leaders at once. So we are doing it progressively and in phases. Where there elections when we gave out motorcycles to LC3 chairpersons?” Mr Kashaka asked.

But Robert Kanusu, the UPC party spokesman, said: “This is the highest level of election malpractice. And that the Badru Kiggundu-led commission is quiet about it shows how ineffective it is.”
Mr Kanusu and Mr Ogutu said they would petition court.
The Justice Forum Party president, Mr Asumani Basalirwa, said the scheme was an abuse of state resources and was not in good faith.

“They are using this to boost the candidature of President Museveni. NRM is desperate. It could also be a trick to facilitate their NRM campaigns,” he said.

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