2021 elections to consume Shs 700bn

The cost for the 2021 general elections may go up by nearly Shs 300bn from what was spent on the 2016 general elections, the State minister for Planning David Bahati has said.

Bahati told MPs on the Local government and Public Service committee that government is planning on a budget of Shs 700bn for the elections if the Supreme Court does not overturn the Constitutional Court’s ruling that threw out an amendment of the constitution to extend the term of elected leaders from five to seven years.

Bahati appeared before the committee Government and Public Service alongside officials from the Ministry of Local Government to explain why government has taken long to formalize the newly created Sub-counties and Town Councils.

The money, Bahati said, will be given to the Electoral Commission in the 2019/2020 budget to allow it do the necessary preparations in time.

The figure shocked MPs that they asked him to explain the sudden increase in the elections budget.

“The cost of democracy isn’t cheap, if you don’t want democracy, try the other means [which] is more expensive,” Bahati said.

He said, the new Sub Counties and Town Councils cannot be operationalised given the constraints with the governemnt resource envelop which may call for another plan to be developed in consultation with Ministry of Local Government.

MPs wondered why government uses Parliament to create administrative units well knowing that it has no resources to fund administrative units.

Parliament last year passed a resolution for the creation of 198 Sub Counties and 204 Town Councils which require Shs151bn to become functional.