PARLIAMENT – NRM flag bearers in the six new district where elections have not been held, since their coming into operation in July 2018, have petitioned Parliament to have the matter resolved saying electorates are languishing without representation.
The frustrated NRM flag bearers led by former musician turned politician, Racheal Magoola contesting as Bugweri District Woman, Harriet Busingye for Hoima district, Niwirah Nalubowa Kassanda District, Judith Acola Kwania Woman, Peter Banura vying for LCV seat Kikube district and Haji Shafi Muziransa handed their petition to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga asking for the Legislature to intervene in this matter and have elections held immediately.
Magoola said that the districts were curved to bring services closer to the people and refusal to conduct timely elections is infringing on these electorates’ constitutional rights.
“We believe these services are a constitutional right for the people in our community. Our people aren’t getting the services they need, bills are being passed without representation, districts are functioning with budgets but without a political wing to oversee this expenditure. The elections have taken long, we are constrained, so ate our voters,” said Magoola.
It should be recalled that at the start of the Financial Year, 2018/2019 five new districts came operational on 1st July 2018 with the election of their leaders meant to be conducted but eight months down the road, no elections have been held, creating a leadership vacuum in the new districts.
Following the coming into effect of the new administrative units, the NRM and other parties conducted their respective party primaries with the winners waiting anxiously to enter the August House, dreams that have failed to materialise to date.
Nalubowa noted: “It’s painful that eight months when the district was established, we have no idea when we are voting. All we know is that there is no money, but we want the Speaker to add a voice to her plight because the voters are waiting and they’re the ones feeling most pain as their views aren’t presented in Parliament and yet we are entering another fiscal year and nothing is said about it.”
Worth noting is that while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee in January, to present their views on the 2019/2020 National Budget Framework Paper, Electoral in which the Commission Chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama, warned Government against creating more districts after September 2018 saying this would hamper proper planning and smooth implementation of the 2021 general elections road map arguing that these districts need to be operationalised for the Commission to effectively implement electoral activities as per the road map.
Information from the Commission indicates that districts of; Nabitatuk, Bugweri, Kassanda, Kwania, Kapelebyong and Kikuube were meant to have come into effect by 1st July 2018 and an additional seven districts are meant to come into effect by 1st July 2019 and these include; Obongi, Lusot, Karenga, Kitagwenda, Madi-Okollo, Rwampara and Kazo.
The Commission has not been able to operationalise the four new districts that became effective July 2016, six districts effective July 2017, six districts effective July 2018 and proposed seven districts that will become effective in July 2019.
The Commission is constrained and will not be in position to commence electoral activities in these districts at the same time with the rest of the country,” Byabakama said.
The annual wage bill and non-wage component for the twenty-three districts is Shs3.461Bn and Shs3.507Bn respectively bringing total to Shs6.968Bn.
The Commission is also required to provide a motor vehicle and motorcycle to every district both estimated at Shs210M per district amounting to Shs4.830Bn for the twenty-three districts bringing the whole total requirement to Shs11.798Bn.
For the six districts, Government is seeking for Shs2.4Bn and the Speaker promised to raise the matter on the floor of Parliament.