Roles of political leaders you are electing to office

Monday January 11 2021

Electictoral Commission officials and observers in Rukungiri polls in a past election. PHOTO/file

By Misairi Thembo Kahungu

Ugandans are going to the polls this month where they have at least three weeks of determining how they will be governed as per the provisions of the Article 1 of the 1995 Constitution.

Much as the focus has been put on the boiling pot for the presidential and parliamentary elections on January 14, the Electoral Commission (EC) has a busy schedule beginning with the election of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) polls today. These SIGs representatives are elected through electoral colleges.

Today, the EC will oversee the election of the Youth, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and Older Persons councillors to the Sub-county, town council and municipal divisions. Apart from Parliament where these SIGs are represented by five members, at the lower local Government, District, Municipal, City Division and City Council levels, each category elects two councillors-a male and female.

Meanwhile, it is not yet clear when the EC will organise elections for the SIGs representatives to Parliament because that has not been indicated in the weeks’ schedule. The dates for the workers and Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) to elect their representatives is also not yet clear.

The mandate of the President and MPs is derived in the Constitution, that of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Mayor and Council is under the KCCA Act, 2010 whereas the Cities, Districts, Municipal and Lower Local Government Councils is provided for under the Local Governments Act, 1997.

Roles: Local Govt Councillors


Much as the functions of the local government councils are similar, a District Council, City or Municipal Council may offer guidance to lower councils within its area of jurisdiction. That higher council shall prepare a comprehensive and integrated development plan incorporating plans of lower level local governments for submission to the National Planning Authority.

  • l Exercise all political and executive powers and functions
  • l Ensure implementation and compliance with Government policy
  • l Approve budgets for particular local governments
  • l Pass by-laws for proper management of the area of jurisdiction
  • l Pass Ordinances to be implemented at District or City level
  • l Monitor performance of civil servants through sectoral committees
  • l Monitor provision of gov’t services through sectoral committees

LC3 Chairperson (Sub-county, Town Council, Municipal Division)

  • l  Lower Local Government political head
  •  Presides over Executive Committee meetings
  •  Monitor general administration in the area of jurisdiction
  •  Chairs area security committee
  •  Oversee performance of civil servants
  •  Monitor provision of government services or projects in area of jurisdiction

City Division mayor

  • City Division political head
  • Presides over Executive Committee meetings
  • Monitor general administration in the area of jurisdiction
  • Oversee performance of civil servants
  • Monitor provision of government services or projects in area of jurisdiction

Municipal Mayor

  • Political head of the Municipal Council
  • Presides over the Municipal Executive Committee meetings
  • Monitor general administration of the Municipality Oversee performance of the Civil Servants
  • Monitor provision of government services or implementation of projects in Municipality.

City Mayor

  • Be the political head of the City
  • Preside over meetings of Executive Committee
  • Perform ceremonial and civic functions
  • Host foreign and local dignitaries
  • Head City in developing strategies and programmes for development
  • Monitor the administration of the City
  • Provide guidance to the Division administrations

LC5 Chairperson

  • Preside at meetings of the executive committee of the district
  • Monitor the general administration of the District
  • Monitor the implementation of council decisions
  • Monitor and coordinate activities of Municipal and Town councils and other lower local governments.
  • Oversee performance of civil servants
  • Monitor provision of government services and project implementation
  • Coordinate and monitor government functions between a District and the Government.


  • Legislate to make laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda.
  • Protect the Constitution and promote the democratic governance of Uganda.
  • Approve the national budget
  • Carry out oversight role on the performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies


  • Holds the Executive Authority of the country
  • Executing and maintaining the Constitution and all laws made or enforced under it
  • Promote the welfare of Ugandans
  • Protect the territorial integrity of Uganda
  • Appoint Ministers who shall exercise delegated ministerial functions on his or her behalf
  • Assents to the Bills passed by Parliament to become law

Key polling dates


Election of councillors for youth, PWDs, older persons to sub-county/town/ municipal divisions.


Election of councillors for youth, PWDs, older persons to municipality/ city   divisions.


Election of President, directly elected MPs and Woman MPs.


Election of district /city/ chairpersons/ lord mayors/mayors and councillors.


Election of municipality chairpersons and councillors.


Election of councillors for youth, PWDs and older persons to the district.


Election of Sub County/ town/ municipal division chairpersons and councillors.

Using phones at polling stations

The Electoral Commission has clarified that voters will not be prohibited from using mobile phones at polling stations on voting day as long as they do not do it inside the cordoned area.

The EC boss Justice Simon Byabakama, said taking photographs inside the cordoned area may jeopardise the secrecy of the ballot.

He said accredited journalists will be allowed to take photos or videos or record inside the cordoned-off areas in the polling stations provided they don’t invade the privacy of voters and the secrecy of the ballot.