EC seeks Shs90b for village elections  

A man casts his vote during elections recently. The Electoral Commission (EC) has presented a request of Shs90.6b to facilitate village level elections in the next financial year. PHOTO/ FILE

What you need to know:

  • The last village level elections were carried out in August 2018 following a 17-year gap.
  • Parliament in 2015 passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2014, providing for queuing behind candidates during village level elections.

 The Electoral Commission (EC) has presented a request of Shs90.6b to facilitate village level elections in the next financial year.
The commission will be conducting elections for administrative units (LCI and LCII), Women Councils and committees from village to national level across the country in August 2023.
However, in the commission’s budget framework paper for Financial Year 2022/2023 presented before the committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs yesterday, only Shs36.1b has been provided.

The last village level elections were carried out in August 2018 following a 17-year gap.
According to the EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, the commission needs the money to undertake a number of preparatory activities, which include ascertaining the number of villages countrywide.
As of 2018, the total number of villages stood at 60,800 but more have since been created.

“An election is not just a mere event, it is a process. In 2018 there were about 60,000 villages and now they are about 70,000. We have to work with the Ministry of Local Government and other local government entities to get the right figures,” Justice Byabakama told journalists shortly after the meeting.
“Residents of the respective villages must go through a registration process because in the LC1 elections we don’t rely on the national voters’ register, we use the register of residents of a village at that particular time. So we need ample time to plan,” he added.

Parliament in 2015 passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2014, providing for queuing behind candidates during village level elections.
In the budget of the FY2022/2023, the commission has been provided Shs121.4b out of the Shs249.2b that they had requested. 
The commission also wants Shs17.25b for construction of four regional offices (Shs10b) and operationalisation of offices in the 11 new cities (Shs7.25b). 

“Setting up each office costs about Shs650m, which is not provided for in this budget, so we are appealing to the committee to urge the ministry of finance to look into this,” Justice Byabakama said. The commission is also undertaking the procurement of new premises for its headquarters. The current premises on Jinja Road, Kampala, were earmarked by Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) for the Kampala Flyover project.
According to their budget framework paper, the appropriated capital development budget for this purpose is Shs60b of which Shs39.7b has so far been released.  

“We held discussions with Unra and we had agreed on the time frame. Regrettably, we have had issues with the procurement process. But I assure you that we must leave and the process to ascertain where we are going is in its advanced stages and very soon the commission in its transparent manner is going to inform the people of Uganda that this is the home we have secured and we shall invite you as our partners [media] at an appropriate time and show you around,” Justice Byabakama said.
Meanwhile, the commission also wants Shs45b to cater for transfers to political parties.
In December last year, Parliament approved a supplementary budget of Shs35b pushing the total to Shs45b but the commission informed MPs that no provision was made for this purpose in the FY 2022/2023.


 

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