By Sheila Naturinda September 16 2010 Left to right: Stella Nambuya, Abed Bwanika, Paddy Bitama The Electoral Commission may be forced to revise its budget estimates for presidential candidates as it emerged yesterday that the 2011 general polls could attract more than 30 candidates, including at least one comedian. The commission says they had expected not more than 10 candidates going by what happened in previous elections. But by yesterday, commission secretary Sam Rwakoojo revealed that 27 people, who he declined to name, have so far picked nomination forms. Possible rise This number could increase with the nomination dates of October 25 - 26 more than five weeks away. Sources inside the EC said out of the 38 political parties that have registered with it, only 17 have had their candidates picking nomination forms, meaning the other individuals who have declared intent could possibly run as independents. None of the mainstream parties, with the exception of the budding Peoples Progressive Party of former minister Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, have picked forms for their candidates. The commission, which has proposed a total budget of almost Shs197 billion to run the 2011 general elections is, however, not unduly alarmed by the high turn-up of prospective presidential candidates. If 27 or more picked nomination forms and they successfully get nominated, we shall tell ministry of finance and they will provide for that in our budget because we dont want to cause any crisis, Dr Badru Kiggundu, the elections boss, said, while indicating that the EC cannot dictate a limit to candidates they would get. Dr Kiggundu said procurement of all necessary electoral materials has been concluded save for the ballot papers whose printing contract has been awarded but awaits candidates photographs after the nomination exercise. Suppliers Ballot boxes will be supplied by Copenhagen Elections in Denmark, indelible ink by Brooklyn Arnold while seals will come from Security Group. Victoria Motors will supply the vehicles. Under the current election laws, each presidential candidate must pay Shs8 million in non-refundable fees before nomination. Upon nomination, they are each entitled to receive Shs20 million from the EC, a fully fuelled new campaign vehicle and police escort vehicle with armed officers for use throughout the campaign period. The escort guards are also paid allowances throughout the campaigns. The vehicles are returned after the elections have been held. The EC expects all candidates to traverse all 112 districts of Uganda. President Museveni being the incumbent will, however, continue to enjoy the usual facilities available to a sitting President. If this election attracts at least 30 candidates, Ugandans of voting age can expect to be presented with a very long ballot paper containing names of the candidates, their photographs and party signs. Vehicle headache It also means the EC will spend Shs600 million in campaign facilitation for the candidates. The number of vehicles will also have to be increased from what had already been procured. Mr Rwakoojo later told Daily Monitor in a separate interview that candidates have been advised to pay the money in the bank earlier before the nomination dates to avoid EC receiving cash on the nomination dates as has been the practice. He said candidates also need to submit all other requirements like academic documents and signatures of 100 voters from each of the two thirds of the countrys districts (meaning one needs signatures from at least 75 districts) so that the EC can verify them in time. Anyone intending to stand for President must be between 35 and 75 years of age and should have at least an A-level certificate or its equivalent. Still, it is not clear how many people are on the national voters register as initial estimates which by September 1, put the number at 15,002,720, could have changed because of the just concluded display/verification exercise where some names have been struck off. The verification exercise came to an end on Monday this week. Museveni, a king by acclamation?