On Tuesday, a day after presidential aspirants started picking nomination forms, the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) announced that churches and mosques would no longer take any donations from politicians.
Although religious bodies mostly live off donations from their faithful, charity becomes controversial during electoral seasons; eager to catch the eye of worshipers, candidates have been known to become more generous towards their faiths during campaigns. Critics say donations during such a season border on attempting to bribe voters.
Speaking at the launch of the regional peace transformation forums at Hotel Africana, Pastor Joseph Sserwadda also announced plans for a joint televised debate for presidential candidates on January 15, 2016. Previous Presidential candidates’ debates have fallen short on participants. The NRM candidate and President of Uganda has skipped many such televised events in the past.
Sserwadda, the leader of Born Again pastors, said that this time round no candidate at any level will be allowed to contribute to any Church or Mosque fundraiser after nominations. He warned that any religious leader who will defy this agreed-upon arrangement will be summoned by the IRCU disciplinary committee.
“Contributions to religious projects during election campaigns are banned to avoid religious leaders being swayed by rich candidates while undermining the poor. The Independent Electoral Commission should make sure that every candidate is listened to so that people choose leaders of their choice,” Sserwadda said.
By Siraje Lubwama