No Money For Village Polls-Finance Ministry

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In short
Last year, Parliament passed the Local Government Amendment Bill, 2014 providing for lining up behind candidates during elections of chairpersons for village LC1 and parish LC2 levels.

Those seeking to contest for local council one and two seats will have to wait a little longer due to lack of funds to conduct the polls. Recently, parliament tasked the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry to set a date for the LC I and LC 2 polls.

However, the Finance, Planning and Economics Development Ministry, says there is no money for the polls. In his August 8, 2016 letter to Electoral Commission, Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to Treasury, says they can't meet a request from the Commission for Shillings 33.1 billion for the elections this financial year.

"I wish to reiterate that the budget for 2016/2017 is constrained and we are not in position to provide additional resources required. You are advised to rationalize this expenditure within the resources appropriated under your vote's budget," reads Muhakanizi's letter seen by URN.

This means that the much anticipated elections, which have been on hold since 2006, may not take place. Today, the Public Service and Local Government committee was forced to postpone a meeting with the Electoral Commission (EC) over the polls after officials from the Finance and Local Government Ministries failed to turn up.

The EC Deputy Chairman, Joseph Biribonwa told MPs, that their efforts to secure money for the polls have been severally rejected.

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The Shadow Local Government Minister; Betty Nambooze wondered why government did not consult with the NRM party, which held its LC 1 and 2 elections last year.
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The Justice Minister, Kahinda Otafiire declined to comment on the matter when contacted by URN. The committee chairman, Raphael Magyezi directed the Commission to furnish Parliament with the current village voter registers, the actual costs of the elections and how the money will bel spent.

"We need the reports to be able to lobby Parliament to push government to release funds," Magyezi said.Last year, Parliament passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2014 providing for lining up behind candidates during elections of chairpersons for village (LC1) and parish (LC2) levels. 

This was aimed at reducing the costs of conducting the elections through secret ballot.


About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.