KAMPALA – As Ugandans prepare for Local Council elections on July 10th 2018, Diplomats from 15 countries have expressed reservations about the voting method of lining up behind candidates.
In a meeting with Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, French Ambassador to Uganda, Stephanie Rivoal said the EU offered to finance the secret ballot polls for LC leaders, but government failed to take up the offer.
“As EU, we offered to support a secret ballot, we were never called upon to get the money together. It could have been possible for us to fund that but it is upon the local authorities to call upon us,” Ms Rivoal said during the meeting on Tuesday June 26.
The French Ambassador was reacting to the Speaker who informed the delegation that the choice of the lining up method was made due to lack of funds to conduct the secret ballot.
Earlier, the US Ambassador Deborah Malac criticised the lining up behind candidates as a method of conducting the perennially postponed LC1 Elections.
“We ofcourse do have our concerns about the methodology used to conduct the elections,” Ms Malac said, arguing that this method will endanger women and children.
The meeting, which attracted diplomats from the United Kingdom, European Union, the US, Norway and Japan also raised concerns about the delayed release of reports of the November 2016 Kasese killings.
During the same meeting, the diplomats also raised concerns about the delayed ruling on petitions challenging the constitutional ammendment Act No.2 of 2017, which among others lifted age limits for presidential candidates.
“This is now more than two months since the Constitutional Court concluded the joint hearing of the five petitions challenging the ammendment of the constitution,’ said Dr. Albrecht Conze, the German Ambassador to Uganda.
The constitutional court led by Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo is set to deliver the highly anticipated ruling, having heard the petitions in Jinja earlier this year.
However, Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga said the matter is beyond her jurisdiction. “I don’t think it’s proper for me to comment on something before another branch of government,” Ms Kadaga said.