Electoral Commission announces new date for LC1 polls

Electoral Commission announces new date for LC1 polls
The Electoral Commission Officials addressing the Press in Kampala

The long-awaited election of Local Council (LC) I and women village committees will take place on July 10, 2018, according to a new roadmap by the Electoral Commission.

The announcement ends the uncertainty on the polls that were suspended in November 2017, following separate applications by two citizens challenging the date set by the commission. The Commission had set November 14 as the date for the election.

But in one of the applications, James Tweheyo, the former General Secretary of Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) challenged the running of elections in the absence of Secondary School students who were sitting their final examinations until December 8, 2017.

Tweheyo argued that the disputed elections were likely to disenfranchise students aged 18 to 23 who are eligible to participate either as voters or as candidates but were unable to register. He estimated the students to be over 131,000.

In the second application, Allan Alibwani, a student, secured an injunction which restrained the Electoral Commission from holding the elections for a period of 60 days from the time it was issued. The induction was issued in Jinja high court by Justice Jesse Byaruhanga.

The two sides later agreed that that conducting election is a process which can’t fit in any school holiday. They resolved that students, teachers and civil servants can register during weekends, while the commission negotiates with the government to declare polling days as public holidays.

Today, EC Chairman Simon Byabakama Mugenyi announced that the roadmap for the election of the committees will start with the verification of registers starting Friday 22 to Monday, June 25, 2018, followed with the display of registers, and later, the nomination of candidates.

Byabakama told a press conference in Kampala on Friday morning that candidates vying for the positions for the five village women committee members will be nominated from June 27 to June 28, to pave way for campaigns between June 30 and July 2. The nomination for Local Council chairpersons will take place starting Wednesday, July 4 and Thursday, July 5 at the respective Parish Headquarters.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,134 new villages have been added on the list of villages where elections will be taking place.

“This means that residents in these new villages who had registered in the old villages and those who could have transferred residence are advised to register in their current place of residence,” says Byabakama.

Uganda last held local council elections in 2001. The next round of elections which was due in 2006 was halted through a petition filed by Maj Rubaramira Ruranga, the then chairman of the FDC Electoral Commission. In the petition, Rubaramira challenged the process of holding local councils in an arrangement that differed from the requirements of the multiparty dispensation.