Reality Check: Political Party Financing in Uganda

A Critical Analysis in Reference to Other Countries

An assessment of Uganda’s emerging public funding system of political parties. It follows the enactment of the Political Parties and Organisations (Amendment) Act, 2010. The paper aims identify key ingredients in the funding systems of multiparty democracies and to draw lessons from them for Uganda. Using the US, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the UK, Sweden, and South Africa as examples, the paper reveals a six-feature model of essential ingredients for public funding of political parties in a democracy. These ingredients form the basis for a comparison with Uganda’s emerging system.

The May 2011 publication authored by veteran Uganda politician Dr. Paul K. Ssemogerere has re-awakened public discussion on the crucial topic of political party financing. Since its launch the book has been reviewed in the Ugandan press including the Independent and the New Vision which are major news papers.

While public funding of political parties was passed into law by the 2010 amendment of the Political Parties and Organisations Act (2005), there have been no further steps taken to implement it. Not even the national budget estimates recently tabled before parliament provide for funds to finance political parties. Such developments – even when existing economic constraints are put into consideration – indicate limited commitment of the Ugandan government to the subject of political party financing.

Dr. Ssemogerere’s book, however, makes a holistic analysis of the subject of party financing. It examines the existing legal provisions and institutional framework in comparisons with other democracies where party financing has been successful. It is on this basis that he suggests specific legal and institutional reforms that must be reached through a prudent process.

Since being launched several politicians including members of parliament have pledged to use the well researched as basis for agitating for the much needed reforms in the area of political party financing.


Uganda, May 26, 2011


978 9970 153 05 3