The Shadow Cabinet has called on the Government to provide the necessary funds to the Electoral Commission (EC) to conduct Local Council leaders’ elections within 30 days after the expiration of their tenure on July 10, 2023.
The current LC I and LC II leaders were elected in 2018 across 10,595 parishes and 70,626 villages, marking nearly 17 years since the last elections were held under the ruling National Resistance Army/National Resistance Movement (NRA/NRM) government.
During a press conference, led by Betty Ethel Naluyima, the Wakiso District Woman Representative and Shadow Minister for Local Government, the legislators issued an ultimatum. They opposed a proposal by the Ministry of Local Government, headed by Rafael Magezi, to indefinitely extend the term of village and parish leaders due to the unavailability of 59 billion Shillings required by the EC to conduct the elections nationwide.
Naluyima emphasized that the government should promptly allocate the necessary resources and organize the elections as stipulated by the law. Failure to do so would constitute a gross violation of the Constitution.
Gorreth Namugga, the Mawogola South County representative in Masaka District and Shadow Minister for Science and Innovation criticized the Government for undermining the decentralization system adopted in 1992, which aimed to deliver services to the grassroots level.
Stella Apolot Isodo, the Ngora Woman Member of Parliament, demanded that in addition to the LC I and II elections, the government should urgently organize elections for Women Councils since the existing councils expired in August 2022.
Yusuf Nsibambi, the Shadow Minister for Works and Mawokota South legislator criticized the Government’s decision to extend the tenure of LC leaders, arguing that the provision in the Local Government Act allowing the Minister to defer elections applies only during times of war or a state of emergency. Currently, there is no such situation that would warrant such an extension.
Under the Decentralization Policy, the LC offices play a crucial role in facilitating loan borrowing, land sales, acquisition of National Identification cards, validation of securities for suspects seeking police bonds or court bail, and livestock movements, among other responsibilities.
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