Several people in Gulu say, the failure to institute a minimum academic qualification for people seeking representation in the local councils is making it difficult for the councils to meet the expectations of the people.
Charles Okwakalwak, the former LC5 representative for Pece division in Gulu, says that absence of a minimum academic requirement for people seeking to contest for the LC positions, has made it easy for the illiterates without the ability to read, understand, analyze and make informed decisions to penetrate the council system.
Okwakalwak wonders how someone without any basic academic qualification could be expected to debate about the management of the local governments.
During the years he has been a councilor, Okwakalwak said people without sufficient academic qualification often failed to participate in the council debates and activities.
The people want parliament to enact a new law outlining the minimum academic qualification for people seeking election to the local councils.
Okwakalwak proposes that a senior six certificate should be made requirement for all seeking to contest for the LC positions.
//Cue in: "Knowledge is power..."
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Santa Oketa, the councilor for Layibi and Bardege divisions says that most of her colleagues who were elected with no sound academic qualification often felt shy to participate in the council debates.
The Local government Act and the Standard rules of procedure, have a provision allowing a councilor who does not understand English to apply to the council speaker for an interpreter.
However, most times many are shy to use the provision. Oketa explains that during the last four years she spent in the Gulu district council, none of her colleagues exploited the provision even though others could not contribute in English during debates.
He says that government should set senior four as the minimum qualification level for local councilors to Uganda Certificate of Education. Peter Ogwang, the speaker of Dokolo district council concurs with the concerns.
He says that councilors have roles that include debating policies, supervising and monitoring of government activities. He blamed the low academic qualification level to the corruption in the local governments adding that most civil servants exploit the ignorance of the councilors to embezzle money.
Local government councils have wide-ranging powers and are the highest political authority in their areas of jurisdiction, with both executive and legislative powers.
They can generate their own revenue; pass bylaws, budgets, and development plan based on locally determined priorities.
David Butti, the Electoral Commission registrar in Gulu says that absence of any minimum academic qualification requirement for the Local councils would continue until parliament enacts a law to reverse the situation.