Deregistration of inactive political parties ahead of 2026 polls raises concerns

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Deregistration of inactive political parties ahead of 2026 polls raises concerns
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As political parties gear up for the 2026 general elections, concerns are growing over the apparent inactivity of some parties.

This has led to speculation that these parties may be at risk of deregistration from the Electoral Commission's register of political parties.

The register currently lists 26 political parties, including some that appear to be silently mobilizing or not mobilizing at all, raising questions about their viability and compliance with electoral laws.

The 26 parties listed in the Electoral Commission's registry include a mix of well-known parties like the Forum for Democratic Change and lesser-known parties such as the Ecological Party of Uganda, Society for Peace and Development, and Uganda Economic Party.

Despite the upcoming general elections, several of these parties appear dormant, with little to no public activity.

Constitutional lawyer Ivan Bwowe explained that political parties in Uganda must meet certain criteria to maintain their registered status.

"These parties must have functional headquarters within Kampala, democratically elected leadership that changes according to the party constitution, among other requirements," Bwowe said.

"Failure to comply with these conditions can lead to deregistration by the Electoral Commission." added Bwowe

The process for deregistration involves the Electoral Commission serving a notice of intention to deregister the party, stating the grounds for deregistration.

Parties then have a specified period to address the issues before a final decision is made.

Bwowe highlighted that smaller parties, especially those without representation in Parliament, often struggle to meet these requirements due to a lack of funding.

This issue was echoed by Sadam Gayira, Secretary General of the People’s Progressive Party, who criticized the current funding structure that ties financial support to parliamentary representation.

"Pegging funding to numerical strength in Parliament was a selfish move sneaked into the political parties and organizations act. It seeks to fund only those parties that are strong already with parliamentary representation, while crippling those without parliamentary representation," Gayira said.

Gayira also argued that funding should be extended to all registered political parties to promote democracy.

"Funding should be done to all registered political parties in the spirit of irrigating democracy," he added.

Bwowe suggested that opposition political parties need to comply with regulations and set a positive example to attract broader support.

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