Politicians have slammed government over the decision to postpone the Local Council I and II elections, describing the move as ‘continued presence of undemocratically filled structures at village and parish levels in Uganda.’
The Coordinator of Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), Mr Crispin Kaheru said in a statement: “The lack of government commitment to conduct the LC I and II elections in the most democratic ways can further be seen through the adoption of an archaic law of voting by way of lining-up proposed by government instead of voting by secret ballot in the LC elections.”
The remarks come hardly a day after Daily Monitor exclusively reported the cabinet decision to defer the village elections due to financial constraints.
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija yesterday told journalists in Kampala that the elections were deferred because of the hunger problem reported in various parts of the country.
But Mr Joseph Bbosa, who heads a Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) faction, said the move points to disorganisation in the implementation of the budget by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).
“One has got suspicion that the present LC situation favours the NRM government because all the present LC officials have been co-opted in the NRM structure. Given the unpopularity of the NRM, that situation would change,” Mr Bbosa said. He added that the delay of the LC elections is intended to keep the status quo under the excuse of lack of funds.
UPC leader, Mr Jimmy Akena said he was not shocked because the resources that were available for budget were not commensurate to what was required by the Electoral Commission.
“I have been following the preparations of the LC elections and the requirements by the Electoral Commission closely. It is long overdue but it is important that we have it at some point,” he added.
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) mobiliser, Ms Ingrid Turinawe said, the suspension of the LC elections is due to lack of the NRM government will and interest to organise the polls. “Ugandans must confirm that NRM and Mr Museveni are not about democracy. Until we liberate ourselves and our country, then we will have the elections and this will be handled by a new government,” she said.
Ms Turinawe said: “If they (government) can use Shs6 billion for handshake but they say that Shs10 billion is unaffordable, then it is a disappointment. Is the NRM party richer than government?”
Mr Kaheru said that CCEDU would explore the legitimate option of approaching the courts to ensure that the illegalities being perpetrated by not conducting these elections do not stand any longer.
“We are proceeding to petition cvourt to ensure that the law of voting in the LC I and II elections is amended to provide for secret voting as well as ensure that the elections are held immediately,” he added.