KAMPALA – Parliament has given Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and Justice Minister Maj Gen (rtd) Kahiinda Otafire up to Wednesday next week to explain why the government has delayed conducting elections in six new districts.
Speaking during plenary on Tuesday, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga wondered why Nabilatuk, Kapelebyong, Bugweri, Kwania, Kassanda and Kikuube districts have not held elections despite becoming operational in July 2018.
“I want to know when the government is going to conduct these elections,” Kadaga said.
“Many have invested time and resources to campaign at grassroot level, you cannot keep them waiting since November,” she added.
The Electoral Commission has already indicated that it is ready to conduct the elections which are projected to cost 2.5 billion UGX. The cost is slated to cover elections for women representatives in Parliament and Local Councils.
While supplementing on the matter, Kiira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (FDC), who is also the Opposition Chief Whip, said the government is deliberately denying the electorate in the new districts their right to leadership.
“We have been told that the government is no longer interested in elections and that is why these elections are not taking place,” Mr Ssemujju said.
The government, in the run-up to the financial year 2018/19 (effective July), planned to operationalize the districts with election time frames and district budgets.
Ms Kadaga said that this was a serious matter that cannot be ignored yet the people need to be served.
Government recently established new administrative units creating 2828 leadership positions to be filled in 53 districts in the country. The newly created areas include seven municipalities, 194 sub-counties, 64 town and 23 municipal divisions. Since 2005, the Ugandan government has been in the process of dividing districts into smaller units.
EC secretary Sam Rwakoojo says that the elections will be held as soon as the money is released. Rwakoojo says the commission has a budget vote for elections and by-elections but the money available for elections is not sufficient to run the electoral activities in the new districts.