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MPs Split Over Lower Council Election Debate

The committee was today expected to meet with the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, Local Government Minister, Tom Butime and Gender Minister Janat Mukwaya to discuss modalities on the elections, including budget allocations for the elections. However, the ministers did not turn up.

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Members of the Public Service and Local Government committee of parliament are divided over consideration of the Local Government Amendment Bill 2016, in the absence of line ministers.

The split stems from a decision by the committee to consider the bill, tabled by Local Government minister Tom Butime last week, in relation to holding of the LC I, LC II and women council elections.

The committee was today expected to meet with the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, Local Government Minister, Tom Butime and Gender Minister Janat Mukwaya to discuss modalities on the elections, including budget allocations for the elections.

However, the ministers did not turn up. Instead Local Government Permanent Secretary Benjamin Kumumanya, Benjamin Wesonga, the Personal Assistant to minister Tom Butime and Patrick Okello, the acting Commissioner for Labour in the Gender ministry turned up.

MPs Johnson Muyanja, Roland Mugume, Betty Nambooze and Raphael Magyezi directed them to leave the meeting until the ministers turn up.

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For over an hour, the MPs failed to agree on whether to continue considering the amendments. Some opposition MPs insisted that the ministers must be present during consideration of the amendments or they will not be part of the process.

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However, majority of the MPs, including, among others, Aringa North MP Godfrey Onzima, Raphael Magyezi and Sylvia Akello voted to continue with the amendments even without the ministers present.

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The committee is expected to meet political parties, civil society and religious leaders tomorrow, as part of the public hearings on the amendments.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija insisted that government has ten billion Shillings to conduct the elections even though the Electoral Commission had submitted a budget of 15.9 billion Shillings for the task.

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