The registration of voters for Local Council One and Local Council Two elections that are scheduled for November has started today.
Ugandans will on 21st November 2017 elect their Local Council one and Local Council two executives.
Before the polls, however, all voters are to undergo fresh registration, to be eligible to vote.
The Electoral Commission will register voters starting today 26th until 30th October 2017.
According to the Electoral Commission, the fresh registration is meant to compile a village register.
Electoral Commission Chairperson Simon Byabakama explains that although they carried out registration previously targeting the 2016 general elections, this particular registration is meant to identify residents of particular villages.
He says the registration targets only residents of particular villages in the 7,795 parishes and 59,315 villages in the country.
Uganda has not conducted elections for LC1 (village) and LC2 (parish) for the last 15 years, the last one having been held in 2001 before the country shifted from the one-party Movement system to the multiparty system of governance.
Attempts to hold the elections in 2006 were thwarted following the Constitutional Court ruling on the petition by then opposition member of FDC Maj Rubaramira Ruranga (retired) who successfully challenged the legality of the incumbent local councils following the country’s return to the multiparty political system.
Maj Ruranga argued that the Local Councils which were elected under the discarded Movement governance became unconstitutional upon the country’s reversion to the multiparty system. The court upheld his petition and nullified the Local Councils and ordered fresh elections under the multiparty system.
But due to financial constraints, the government has never held the elections although the Local Councils continued operating illegally to-date. Uganda has 7,431 parishes and 57,842 villages in 1403 sub-counties.
“NRM and President Museveni in particular uses local council leaders for his mobilisation and any attempts to dismantle the current leadership will always face resistance from him,” the Opposition Attorney General, Mr Wilfred Niwagaba said. “The fact is that this government has never taken democracy seriously….the claim that there is no money is a prank to hoodwink Ugandans. How come they found money for the so-called presidential handshake?”
But Mr Opondo and other NRM leaders derided the Opposition claims that NRM benefits from the illegal LC1 and LC2 leadership and reminded Mr Mafabi and others that in the run up to the 2016 polls, they failed to field candidates in all elective positions.
Prof Sabiti Makara, a senior lecturer at Makerere University’s department of political science, however, said the vacuum has created confusion and ambiguity in regards to the current LC courts. He reminded the government that many land transactions are concluded on documents presided over and signed by the illegitimate Local Council officials. He insists that the inability to hold the elections is about money and that that “it’s a problem of priorities.”