Parliament Tasks Local Government Minister on Local Council Elections

The Minister for Local Government, Raphael Magyezi has told parliament that his ministry is holding consultations with the Electoral Commission, Attorney General, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Gender regarding Local Council elections.

Magyezi made the statement during the Wednesday plenary sitting in which Members of Parliament questioned the absence of funds to organize elections for Women Councils and LC 1.

“We are looking at this together and we shall give a comprehensive statement that covers both the LCs and Women Councils,” the Minister told parliament.

The Minister last week told Parliament that government had postponed the LC elections since it did not have the required 59 billion Shillings required by the Electoral Commission to organize them.

The five-year mandate of the leadership of the Local Council 1 across the expired on Monday, 10th July 2023. These were voted into office in 2018, nearly 17 years since the last elections were held in 2001.

During the plenary sitting, the Amuria Woman MP, Susan Amero queried the failure by government to facilitate election of new office bearers. She asked government to utilize the 3 percent contingency funding in the budget to organize the elections.

Geofrey Macho, the Busia Municipality MP said matters like land transactions have failed to make progress due to the absence of legally elected officials at the village level.

“We had people who failed to buy land in Busia because the LC Chairman feared to sign,” said Macho.

Santa Alum, the Oyam Woman MP asked the Minister of Finance and the Minister for Local Government to expeditiously address the funding gap.

Parliament Speaker Anita Among said that the Attorney General recently informed the House that the term for Women Councils would be temporarily extended.

Betty Ethel Naluyima, the Shadow Minister for Local Government asked the Speaker to attach a time line to the Minister’s promised statement regarding the elections.

“These are key administrative units in the country and their functions are clear. We need a clear explanation and government needs to look for money to organize these elections,” said Naluyima.

The Speaker directed that the Minister of Local Government addresses parliament on Thursday next week regarding the matter.

The Local Council 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.

Under the Third Schedule of the Local Government Act, the minister can extend the tenure of local leaders for a period not exceeding six months if the country is in a state of war or if a state of emergency has been declared under the Constitution.

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