The Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has proposed that
elections in newly created districts and constituencies should be halted until
the next general elections.
The proposal is among several others in the Parliamentary Elections Amendment
Bill, 2019 and the Local Government Elections Amendment Bill, 2019.
Last year, government tabled the two Bills as part of electoral
reforms. Also tabled were the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill, 2019,
Political Parties and Organisations Amendment Bill, 2019 and the Electoral
Commission Amendment Bill, 2019. The five Bills were referred to the
legal committee for further scrutiny.
In its report, the committee has supported the proposal to delay elections in
districts and local government units created after the general elections.
Government has proposed in the Parliamentary Elections Bill that when a new
district or constituency is created after a general election, the elective positions
created are not filled immediately as has been the case, but are filled at the next
The Bill seeks to amend the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005 that provides
that elections should be held sixty days after the creation of a new
district or constituency. The Legal Committee supports the proposed
amendment because the 1995 Uganda Constitution provides that the commencement
of a constituency and the election of Members of Parliament for a newly created
district “shall come into effect upon the next dissolution of Parliament.”
Also, the proposal will help Parliament and the government to plan and budget
for an exact number of MPs. Currently, “the number of Members of
Parliament cannot be ascertained since this can change any time from the creation
of new districts.”
Parliament approved the creation of several districts in phased
manner in 2015 effective July 1st, 2016 up until 2019. They include among
others Nabilatuk, Kapelebyong, Bugweri, Kwania, Kassanda and Kikuube
district. Electoral Commission has since failed to conduct
polls in some of the new districts citing lack of funds.
Jacob Oboth, the chairperson of the committee says that proposal
is progressive and should be supported.
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The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga noted that the Parliamentary
Commission has been constrained due to the increasing number of MPs.
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Oboth, also West Budama South MP, however, noted that there is
need to amend the proposal so that it aligns with Constitutional provisions.
The Legal Committee report also recommends that the Electoral
Commission should not hold elections for local government units created after
the general election.
Kitagwenda County MP, Abas Agaba, who presented the committee
report, explained why Parliament should pass the proposal.
He says the proposal was mooted due to the challenges such as lack
of funds to hold elections in newly created local government and administrative
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The committee also rejected provisions that seek to limit
participation of independent candidates in the presidential, parliamentary and
local government elections.
Oboth says that the committee opposed the proposal because it is unconstitutional. It breaches constitutional
provisions including an individual's freedom of association.