Uganda: Parliament Orders Elections in 6 New Districts Before June

Parliament — Parliament on Wednesday approved the report by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs' committee with a recommendation that the house orders the Electoral Commission to organise elections in the six new districts without fail before the end of this Financial Year.

The report indicated that the new districts have missed out on representation in parliament and leadership at LC 5 level which impacts on delivery of services to the people.

In a report presented by West Budama South MP Mr Jacob Oboth-Oboth, the Committee Chairperson, Parliament was told that the EC had indicated during interface with MPs that there was no money to organise elections for Woman MP and LC 5 Chairpersons in the districts that became operational on July 1, 2018.

"The Committee recommended that elections in the six districts be conducted by the end of the last quarter of this financial year," Mr Oboth-Oboth said.

The districts that are yet to elect their leaders are; Nabilatuk, Bugweri, Kassanda, Kwania, Kapelebyong and Kikuube. Hoima District has also for nearly nine months been without a Woman MP after Ms Tophace Kaahwa opted to represent Kikuube District which was curved out of Hoima starting July 1.

The EC has always insisted they cannot manage to organise the polls because the Ministry of Finance has not allocated funds to facilitate the process.

The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) late last year conducted primary elections in these districts to identify candidates for the LC 5 and Woman MP positions.

On April 6, when the Committee interfaced with the EC Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama, he expressed fear that government may be forced to pay a lot of money in court awards if the suits already filed against the Commission are decided in favour of the petitioners challenging the delay to organise elections in new districts.

"It is illegal for the new districts to be without elected leaders because the law provides for 60 days. The case for Hoima District, they were supposed also to hold a by-election within 60 days after their woman MP chose to represent a new district. But, government has not given us money," Justice Byabakama said.

Effective July this year, seven other new districts will be operational hence mounting more pressure on the EC to conduct elections for the same positions. These are; Obongi, Karenga, Kitagwenda, Madi-Okollo, Rwampara, Kazo and Kalaki.

The report of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee which included the budget allocations for Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, government entities like the Parliamentary Commission, EC, Inspectorate of Government; Uganda Human Rights Commission, among others was passed without debate.

This was after Kabula County MP, Mr James Kakooza proposed that the Committee report should not be subjected to debate because it was "elaborate" and the figures of the budget allocations of the different votes were "clear". Majority of the members voted to support the motion and the report was approved without debate.

Passed with the report include the allocation of Shs638.8b budget for the Parliamentary Commission which has increased from Shs497.8b in the 2018/19 FY budget.

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