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There are no ghost villages, Electoral Commission reassures voters

A resident checks the voters register for their details and identification. The Electoral Commission has assured voters that there are no “ghost villages” (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – The Electoral Commission (EC) has today July 9, dismissed claims of “ghost villages” in their database ahead of the Local Council One (LC1) elections slated for Tuesday July 10.

Mr Jotham Taremwa, the EC spokesperson said the allegations are unfounded, “ghost villages don’t exist at any one point,” he reaffirmed.

Earlier media reports had indicated that Local Government minister Tom Butime and the EC officials were entangled in a storm following new evidence on 13 non-existing villages in Sembabule District.

The reports indicated that the said villages were created without parish resolutions and lack boundaries. Mr Taremwa has refuted the allegations saying “If there is any, it is a step jumped by the Ministry [of Local Government], but for us we got proper  communication.

“We can’t have a ghost village in our database; every village has people. We had a meeting with [Ministry of] Local Government and said these villages were properly communicated to us. If there’s any gap on the side of Local Government, I’m glad the minister said they will do what is required,” Mr Taremwa said.

Many aspirants in the said villages missed nomination to contest in the elections because their names had been transferred to the declared villages which do not exist in law.

Mr Taremwa said the 13 villages in question are among the 60,800 villages where elections will be conducted that are legally captured in the EC database.

Mr Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga Member of Parliament and local leaders, last week stormed the EC headquarters in Kampala, protesting what they called “electoral fraud” in their area.

“We wrote to the minister on June 18 and informed him that on January 31, he created 13 ghost villages in Lwemiyaga. On July 3, he wrote to the EC chairman, cancelling the elections in these illegal administrative units.

But to our surprise, the same minister again wrote another letter on July 5, clearing the ghost villages,” Mr
Ssekikubo said.

“This problem is widespread and it touches on the integrity of the LC polls. If there are 11 ghost villages in one sub county, what about other areas? Leaders in other districts should investigate the legality of the new villages the minister created on January 31,” he added.

The alleged ghost villages include; Kyengumba, Kyoga, Kyasoboko, Keishe, Lyengoma, Njenje, Kisaana, Kitokoro, Lyentuha, Gantaama B and Bugasha villages all in the new Nabitanga Sub-county.

Mr Butime said since the electoral processes had commenced in the villages that are not regularised, they allowed the exercise to proceed, pending retrospective regularisation in future.

But he insisted that such villages are only in Sembabule and not in the rest of the country as speculated.

“We held a meeting at the EC and we agreed that since the election processes, including nomination of candidates had started in those affected villages in Sembabule, it would be unwise to stop them from proceeding,” Mr Butime was quoted as saying yesterday.

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