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Presidential Candidates\' Vehicle Debate Splits MPs

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Members of Parliament on the Legal Affairs committee are sharply divided on a proposal by government not to have Electoral Commission give cars to presidential candidates for campaigns.
DP\'s Norbert Mao campaigning in Mukono in 2011

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A proposal by government to scrap provision of vehicles to presidential candidates has divided Members of Parliament on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee.

The Presidential Elections Amendment Bill 2015, which was tabled in Parliament this week, proposes that the Electoral Commission provides every candidate with 50 million shillings, up from 20 million shillings.

This facilitation, however, will not come with a vehicle, previously given to candidates to traverse the country during their campaigns.

Some legislators were opposed to government\'s proposal to remove the cars during a meeting with Attorney General, Fred Ruhindi on Friday.

MPs Sam Otada and Connie Galiwango said that since the incumbent President already has these facilities, it would be unfair for other aspirants to be left out.

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Fox Odoi, West Budama North MP, however says presidential candidates should prove themselves worthy to stand in those positions. He says government should not waste taxpayers\' money purchasing vehicles and only provide funds and security for their campaigns.

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He was supported by John Ssimbwa, Makindye East MP, who declared that Independents who cannot prove their worth through holding campaigns without relying on support from government, should not bother contesting. 

Attorney General, Fred Ruhindi, responding to the MPs\' concerns, says the proposals will be considered.

On the proposal to change the time for closing polling from 5 to 4pm, Ruhindi says several concerns have been raised, especially on the late delivery of polling materials in hard to reach areas.

He says the Electoral Commission has been asked to consult further on this matter.

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