The Electoral Commission needs more Shs37bn to hold Local Council One elections which have since hit a deadlock.
The request was made by Electoral Commission (EC) officials who were appearing before the parliamentary local government committee over failed LC1 elections on Thursday.
One of the committee members, MP Muyanja Ssenyonga, wondered how EC can demand more money yet the ruling party used less to conduct similar elections.
“They are saying Shs7bn is not enough for LC1 elections and insist they need Shs37bn. For what? If NRM spent Shs2bn on village elections across the country, why would conducting LC1 elections cost Shs37bn?” Muyanja wondered.
Appearing on NBS TV programme “NBSFrontline” on Thursday night, EC spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa, said they “cut here and there and came up with a budget of Shs37bn for the LC1 elections”.
“That is what we need to conduct them. We have not failed to hold LC1 elections. If we could hold other elections, we can definitely conduct LC1 elections,” he said.
According to Taremwa, the current law mandates EC to make public announcements, sensitize voters which all that costs money.
He said while voting will be for lining up behind one’s preferred candidate and that they will still spend on election materials, public announcements and facilitation.
“Cars will need to be fuelled. Maybe, the law should change so that some of those activities are removed.”
According to government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, elections of LCI and II councillors should be left to the communities, not the Electoral Commission.
“The law should change.”
Captain Mike Mukula, on the other hand, says LC1 is still relevant and that is the smallest form of government.
“They carry out many functions. The current law provides for activities such as display of the register. Even such cost money hence the commission asking for UGX37bn to conduct these elections.”
Former Ethics minister, Miria Matembe, says she doesn’t know what LC1 chairpersons do these days.
“In Port Bell, ours is always drunk. What do they do these days? We have not had LC1 elections for 16 years. That means these people have been working illegally.”
She proposed that these women and youth councils should also be done away with immediately.
“NRM uses them only during elections to mobilize.”