Stakeholders reignite minimum academic qualifications debate for local leaders

Voters line up to elect an LC1 chairperson of a village in Kampala in 2018. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Mr Abel Ssemanda, Kabaka’s chief in Katikamu Sub County, emphasised the inherent contradiction in requiring elected leaders to be accountable yet lacking the basic education to analyse policy documents and monitor projects.

Stakeholders in the districts of Greater Luweero region are calling for a revision of electoral laws to mandate minimum academic qualifications for local leaders, including sub-county council representatives.

They express concern that the slow rollout of the 2026 electoral roadmap could jeopardize crucial reforms. They argue that a lack of basic English language skills and education among elected leaders hinders effective service delivery.

Mr Paul Mukungu, an opinion leader in Luweero Town Council, said district councilors who lack minimum qualifications struggle to assess and scrutinize technical documents prepared by staff in standard English. This, he argues, weakens accountability and service delivery. 

“This has partly compromised service delivery in particular areas,” Mr Mukungu said during a stakeholder meeting on Monday.

Mr Abel Ssemanda, Kabaka’s chief in Katikamu Sub County, emphasised the inherent contradiction in requiring elected leaders to be accountable yet lacking the basic education to analyse policy documents and monitor projects.

“The solution is ensuring that minimum education qualification is reinstated for particular electoral office bearers," he said.

Mr Sam Agaba Rutemba, the Luweero District election administrator said the Electoral Commission has already disseminated the 2026 roadmap to the different stakeholders including the political parties that should by now be engaging their respective communities on new concerns.

“I believe the issues raised are healthy and could inform some of the reforms if it is the wish of the voters. These engagements are good and provide a platform for civic education,” he said.

Mr David Kamugisha, the NRM registrar for Luweero, emphasised the need for leaders who contribute value. He said while his party has its own roadmap, there is a lack of widespread public awareness surrounding the Electoral Commission's 2026 roadmap. 

“We should not deceive ourselves that we don’t need leaders that have the basic and minimum education qualifications,” he said.

The Concern for Community Development and Child Welfare Initiative (CODI) under its Citizenship engagement on electoral reforms has been holding meetings with residents in Luweero, Nakasongola and Nakaseke districts where a section of residents demand electoral reforms before the 2026 general elections.

Mr Andrew Lubega, the coordinator of programmes at CODI, said electorate at the grass root level are not aware about the 2026 electoral roadmap and have their own issues that are yet to be captured as the country approaches the general election season.

“The stakeholders are now not very comfortable with being manipulated by technocrats at the different local governments because of the lack of basic education qualifications. They want education qualifications prioritized for some of the positions,” he said.

The Greater Luweero (Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola) stakeholders want a minimum of a university degree for Members of Parliament, Diploma for LC5 district councilors and district chairpersons while the sub county councilors should have a minimum of a Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) qualification.