Elections for Local Council I and II as well as women councillors will be held in April, according to Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, the government Chief Whip.
Although she did not reveal the date, Ms Nankabirwa said all was set and what is left was for the Electoral Commission to fix dates.
“The country has been waiting for these elections for quite some time. We are sorry we did not fulfil as we had earlier informed but I assure [you] that these important administrative units will be in place before end of April,” she said.
Ms Nankabirwa also said the delays in conducting the polls were caused by drought and related disasters that swept across the country.
“We have been going through challenges of the drought and we had to prioritise again. We had to look for money to purchase food for our people not to die,” she added.
Last week, Justice (rtd) Simon Byabakama, the Electoral Commission chairperson said there would be no elections for as long as government fails to avail Shs16 billion for the exercise.
However, Mr Jotham Taremwa, the Electoral Commission spokesperson told Daily Monitor that Ms Nankabirwa’s announcements could be misleading
“The Electoral Commission has not set any date yet for local council elections. We shall inform the country when we approve the programme. Please ignore any other communication other than that of the Commission,” said Mr Taremwa.
Meanwhile, Ms Nankabirwa also revealed that the ruling National Resistance Movement is already prepared for the elections since they have got existing structures.
“We already have our flag bearers whom we elected long ago but the Secretary General [Kasule Lumumba] is touching base on the ground to make sure that where there are gaps and our candidates died, we can be able to replace them in time,” she said.
Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) still faults the Electoral Commission for failure to issue out timely guidelines on the elections.
Maj Gen (rtd) Mugisha Muntu, the FDC Party President told Daily Monitor: “What matters is not how prepared parties are but the voters…there is a new law on how these elections will be held. Is the population aware of this law?”
Like earlier, Gen Muntu asked government to emulate the practice by FDC whose road map for the November elections for Party President is already out.
“We only have 1,000 voters in FDC, but we already have a roadmap, with clear guidelines including the polling date…I pity such people purporting to organise a mass election in only one month,” said Gen Muntu.
Unlike Gen Muntu, Mr Jimmy Akena, the president for Uganda Peoples Congress said the time left for the polls is enough and that it is only up to political players to line up their candidates.
Mr Akena’s argument is premised on grounds that the elections have been expected since January when Parliament passed the Local Government Bill, 2016.
“We are going to do our best within the time left and with the few resources at our disposal to support our candidates wherever it is feasible,” he said.
Parliament early this year passed the Local Government Amendment Bill 2016 which paves way for the reduction of display of voters register to only two days, while campaigns were also reduced to only one day.
Elections will also be held along a multi-party arrangement where voters will have to queue behind their respective candidates in an attempt to cut costs.
The issues at hand
Last election. The last LC 1 and 2 elections were held in 2001, three years before the country changed from a single party “Movement” to a Multi-Party political system in 2005.
Failed attempts. Other attempts to hold fresh LC elections in 2006 were thwarted by the Constitutional Court ruling on the petition by then member of the Opposition FDC party Ruranga Rubaramira who challenged the legality of the existing Local Councils elected under the Movement.
Procedure. Elections will be held along a multi-party arrangement where voters will have to queue behind their respective candidates in an attempt to cut costs. This move is being challenged by the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda, a broad coalition of civil society organisations who said they will conduct four public consultations.
This news story was first published here.
By Eddie Ssemakula.
Civil society body, Citizens Coalition for electoral democracy, (CCEDU) has kicked off a public consultation drive in response to the imminent Local Council elections.
The drive, intends to append citizen signatures to support a forthcoming legal petition, which will challenge the law under which LC 1&2 elections are held.
CCEDU Coordinator, Crispy Kaheru, makes remarks at the February 17th event.
Speaking at the meeting in Ntale village, Kalungu District, CCEDU executive chairman, Livingstone Ssewanyana emphasized the two options of secret ballot and lining up, noting.
“There are divergences in opinion, but in our current political dispensation, it’s important to adopt a voting system that allows people to vote freely, without bias, influence, with harmonized voices, which brings us to the question, should we actually hold these elections, will lining up deliver a credible free and fair vote?” The meeting attended by religious leaders and other local council leaders.
Sebandeke Ahmed, 75, remarked, "Lining up will cause domestic violence, this generation of voters is not as emotionally stable as past generations.
Rev John Nyombi decried the proposed method of lining up emphasizing, “I cannot attempt to vote by lining up, as a Reverend you have already sidelined me with such methodology”
Residents listen in at Ntale village, Kalungu, a considerable number appended their signatures to the petition.
Kalungu Electoral Commission representative, Edmond Misango, called upon residents already mobilising electorate to suspend their activities until the Commission makes it’s position clear.
Other dissenting voices emphasised the importance of Local Council Elections highlighting their urgency considering it’s been 15 years without any.
A participant puts pen to paper, CCEDU intends to append various citizen signatures to the forthcoming legal petition.
The meeting also featured remarks from CCEDU Coordinator Crispy Kaheru, and project associate Faridah Lule among others.
Up until now, Uganda Government has gone back and forth concerning the tentative dates for LC1&2 Elections.
CCEDU continues their countrywide consultation effort that will take them in Fort portal on 24th March and consequently Busia and Arua Districts.
21st February 2017
CCEDU is inviting qualified consultants to bid for conducting a rapid institutional analysis with a view of developing “CCEDU statutes”. Interested individuals or firms must provide information confirming their qualification for the task. This should include, among others:
+ A technical and financial proposal;
+ Detailed CVs of the consultant(s) to be involved in the assignment;
+ References of previous and related assignment including contact details of the respective clients.
The detailed terms of reference are herewith attached.
Expressions of interest must be hand delivered to the address below, no later than 17:30 hours (East African Time) on March 3, 2017. All bid envelopes must indicate the following reference:
Contract ref. No.: FHRI/CCEDU/2017/01/I.A
Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral
Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) Democracy House
Plot 1111 Lulume Road Nsambya
P.O. Box 11027 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 794 444 410
Mob: +256 794 444 401 or +256 772 332 747
Web site: http://www.ccedu.org.ug
Through the Legal Lenses:
1. LC I and II elections were last conducted by way of lining-up in 2001 under the “movement system” of government since 2005, Uganda is under a multiparty system of government;
2. Article 1 (4) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda directs that people exercise their electoral choices through regular, free and fair elections;
3. Article 68 (1) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda sets a standard for voting at elections and referenda – secret ballot;
4. Article 21 (3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) entreats member states to convene genuine elections held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures;
5. Article 25(b) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) implores member states to convene periodic elections held by secret ballot;
6. International electoral standards demand that ALL public elections adhere to three (3) fundamental principles of: Confidentiality: safeguard voter’s freedom of thought and other beliefs; Anonymity: safeguard freedom of opinion of a voter; Individuality: uphold an environment in which a voter is able to make an individual choice.
Through the Social Lenses:
Lining up as a method of voting will:
7. Undermine social cohesion within and among communities
8. Make it easy for the elected LCs to identify those voters who did not elect them and deny them services as a way of retaliation or retribution;
9. Disenfranchise the election administrators – how will the polling officials vote and still remain impartial arbiters of the same election?
10. Compromise the participation of society/community leaders, such as traditional and cultural leaders, religious leaders, security personnel and other eminent persons who under the law or by the virtue of their office or status in society are supposed to be seen as not only impartial but also independent and unbiased in their professional and personal conduct. Through the political Lenses:
11. There is a strong likelihood that people may vote – to be “politically correct” and not vote for their genuine choices. The possibilities of people voting for the prevailing administration under an open voting system remain high.
Lining-up to vote not only fails to meet the minimum acceptable standards for conducting free and fair democratic elections, but is also fertile ground to incite conflict and sow seeds of discord in communities.
Say NO to lining-up, say YES to secret ballot!
JANUARY 24, 2017
THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS IN EVERY ELECTION LIES WITH THE STATE (Article 20(2) 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda)
Local Council (LC) 1 and 11 are administrative units in the Local Government structure with no right to sue or be sued. Ugandans in 2017 will after a period of fifteen years (2001-2017) yet again, go to the polls to elect Local Council 1 and 11s. The Constitution of Uganda 1995 in Article 181(4) states that local government elections will be held every five years. Despite this provision, the Electoral Commission last held elections for LC1 and 11s in 2001.
The term of office of the leaders at the two LC levels expired on May 12 2001 when Uganda was still under the Movement system of government where all candidates contested on the principle of individual merit. The elections at these two LC levels could not be held partly due to lack of a law to hold elections at these two levels under the multiparty system of governance that was ushered in following a referendum in 2005 that led to a return to multiparty political system of governance in Uganda. In 2014, the Executive introduced the Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2014 to enable the LC elections at the level of LC11 and 11 to be held under a multiparty political system of governance.