LC 1 Elections Not Possible by October - EC

4978 Views Soroti, Uganda

In short
Part of the legal provision causing financial worry is the requirement for the Commission to provide a printed copy of the voters register for every parish to all the registered political parties in the country. Ogutu said they would require 80 billion shillings to make the copies of the voters’ registers available for the parties.

The Electoral Commission has indicated that the dates for holding the elections of village and parish local councils has been affected by the process to review some of the laws that is expected to reduce on the costs of the exercise.

Michael Oguttu, the Soroti district registrar says that there are provisions of the electoral laws, which the election governing body is proposing to be amended in a bid to reduce the cost of holding the elections.

He explained that under the current legal provisions for conducting the village and parish elections, the Electoral Commission would require 174 billion shillings yet the cost could reduce to about 48 billion shillings once the law is amended.

Part of the legal provision causing financial worry is the requirement for the Commission to provide a printed copy of the voters register for every parish to all the registered political parties in the country. Ogutu said they would require 80 billion shillings to make the copies of the voters’ registers available for the parties. He said some of the proposed amendments seek to scrap out the provision.

He said the recommendations have already been submitted to cabinet to discuss before tabling it in parliament for the required amendments.

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Oguttu added that as a result, there is no timetable yet to indicate when the election could take place until the law is amended. The stance contradicts statements from some of the political leaders who have been suggesting that the elections would occur in October. Alex Onzima, the state minister for Local Government recently said that the election would happen in October.

Meanwhile, the village and parish local councilors have indicated they are ready to participate in the polls but say government should keep them updated on the progress. The LC1 and 2 leaders have been holding office beyond the mandated 5 year term of office following a 2006 constitutional court order that directed government to first amend the law to ensure its compliance with the multiparty political dispensation, which government had adopted.

Peter Elipu, the LC1 chairperson of Cell B, Central ward in Soroti Municipality says that they are not certain about the exact dates for the polls but are waiting to take part. He said he is hopeful that their work could improve further after the elections because he said currently; other people view them as illegitimate leaders.

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Oguttu observes that it has been necessary to keep the current LC1 and 2 leaders in office since their last election in order to avoid creating a vacuum.