The Electoral Commission has announced a fresh electoral program for the Local Council (LC) and Women Council elections after government availed the funds required to organize a fresh process.
Polling for the LC 1 elections will take place on July 10 according to the new roadmap which was released Friday morning by the EC Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama.
He told a press conference at the EC headquarters in Kampala that the resumption of the much anticipated elections follows the release of Shs 6.2 billion by government which was required to fund the election process.
“We spent considerable amounts of money on the initial activities which were held last year, therefore we needed additional funding to organize these elections,” Byabakama said.
The elections which were initially slated to take place in November last year were stopped by a court injunction, only a day before the Women Council polling day. Some petitioners had challenged the elections process whose timing they said was likely to disenfranchise eligible students who were at the time sitting their examinations.
“Government has now provided additional funds and EC is set to resume activities,” he said.
Initially, government had earmarked Shs 15.9 billion for the exercise but Shs 6 billion of this was spent on the registration of voters and other activities, Justice Byabakama revealed.
He however clarified that new registration of voters will be conducted in 1,138 new villages across Uganda which have since been created.
Between June 22 and 25, EC will be registering eligible voters who are residents in the new villages as well as those who missed last year’s registration and those who changed residence. The registration process will also take place in weekends to favour students and public servants.
“Those who register in 2017 in their villages and are residents in those villages will not have to register again,” the EC Chairman told journalists.
Nomination for candidates who seek to contest for LC1 positions will be done on July 4 and 5 at the parish headquarters, and campaigns will run from July 6 to 9 beginning 7am and 6pm.
The EC Chairman said that polling will still be conducted by lining up behind the candidates, their symbols or posters.
Program for the polling day will begin with the assembly and verification of voters by Village Election officials between 7am and 10am. This will be followed by voter education and briefing of voters on voting procedures which will end at 11am.
Between 11am and 11:30am, the eligible voters will form lines and afterwards be counted by the polling officials assisted by the candidates’ agents. The officials will use the time between 11:30am to 12noon to fill the necessary forms (EC10) and declare the Chairperson elect.
From noon to 4pm in the evening, the elected LC 1 Chairpersons will nominate their 6 person Executive Committees which will have to be approved by the electorate.
It is these committees from the respective villages that will then form the Parish Council that shall elect the LC 2 Chairpersons on July 27.
Nomination (in the new villages) for the Women Council candidates will take place on June 27 and 28 while polling day has been gazetted to take place on July 3.
Justice Byabakama emphasized the importance of electing Local Councils noting that they will among other roles go a long way in fighting crimes including kidnaps which have recently became rampant.
While responding to the issue of students participation following last year’s disruption, Byabakama said it was impossible for the Electoral Commission to draw up a program that is aligned with the school holiday calendar.
“No single calendar has enough time to accommodate the entire election process unless you are going to halt schools for 4 months, which is impossible,” he said.
He said that it is for this reason that EC decided to conduct voter registration even during the weekend, so that those interested can seek permission and get registered. He however added that the students who are eligible to vote make up a tiny portion in secondary schools.
“We hope government will declare July 10 [polling day] a public holiday so that students and public servants can participate,” he said.
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