Leaders Oppose Lining Up For Local Council Elections

Local leaders in Kabarole district have opposed queuing up behind candidates while voting village chairpersons and executives in the upcoming elections.

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Local leaders in Kabarole district have opposed queuing up behind candidates while voting village chairpersons and executives in the upcoming elections.

In 2015, Parliament passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2014, to amend the Local Government Act which was aimed at providing for the lining up procedure of electing LC 1 and LC 2 leaders instead of using the secret ballot.

However, speaking at a consultative meeting on the method of voting organised by the Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) on Friday in Fort Portal, the leaders opposed the method saying it will be manipulated and could cause violence in the community.

Joseph Manyindo, the LC1 chairperson Mukumbwe village in Karambi Sub County, says that lining up behind the candidates will bring disunity in the community and affect service delivery. He explains that it will be easy for the elected leader to identify those voters who did not elect them and deny them services.

//Cue in: “It is wrong…

Cue out: “…his or her choice.”//

Nyakato Rusoke, the Kabarole district Forum for Democratic Change -FDC chairperson, blamed MPs for passing the law on the method of voting without consulting the electorate. She says that government has the funds, but doesn't want to spend on the elections and yet they are important.

Rusoke adds that the lining up could be a plan by the NRM to intimidate and compel voters to vote in favour of their party members since the voting is done in the open.

//Cue in: “The law passed…

Cue out: “…behind candidates.”//

Bob Muhumule, the speaker West Division, Fort Portal Municipality, notes that the method will fuel violence in villages among those who will be seen lining up in favour of other candidates. He also says that it may escalate corruption in local council elections or bring hatred among the people instead of promoting democracy.

//Cue in: “The ballot box…

Cue out: “…lots of controversy.”//

Out of the 79 people who attended the consultative meeting, 74 signed a petition to compel government to review the method of voting in the LC elections with the view of ensuring that elections are conducted by secret ballot.

Faridah Lule, CCEDU's  associate election observer, says that that signatures collected from Kabarole and other parts of the country will be useful when CCEDU goes to Court to challenge the lining-up method of voting.

For 15 years Uganda has not had Local Council 1 and Local Council 2 elections, the Electoral Commission only held the last elections in 2001.